Sunday Snippets – January 27

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

It’s the weekend so it’s time to join other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets.

Here are my posts for the week:

The Life I Dreamed by Kari Burke (Book Review)

A Subtle Grace Book Cover (my upcoming book cover; tentative release is set for Fall, 2013)

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 56 (a cartoon, March for Life, frigid temps, reading shelf)

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 56

7_quick_takes_sm1Join me and other Catholic bloggers at Jen’s Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. March for Life and Other Prayer Intentions
Prayers to all those participating in the March for Life today! Keep warm! (I’m glad the Canadian March for Life is in May!)
Check out this wonderful pro-life article by Jen Fulwiler.
Also, continued prayers for Jen and Fulton.

2. No Wheat!
I’ve been on a “no wheat” diet and, so far, I haven’t missed it. I love pasta, but when I make pasta for the family, I make rice for myself. My favorite “wheat” product is soft pretzels and, thankfully, I live in Canada where soft pretzels are few and far between! (I will have to exercise extreme self-control when I visit my family in New Jersey, though!)

3. Brrrr!!!
It has been bitterly cold this week here in the Ottawa Valley. For the past three days, the low has been minus 38 Celsius and there’s been a frostbite warning. I’m thankful that we have a wood stove although we’re burning about four logs an hour!Thermometer in winter

4. The Abolitionists
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been watching a PBS Series called “The Abolitionists.” Riveting docu-drama about the long fight to end slavery.

5. Backup Cartoon!
Backup final

6. Reading Shelf
The Good Sinner – Elizabeth Schmeidler
Book of Jotham – Arthur Powers
Finding Grace – Laura Pearl

7. A Subtle Grace Book Cover
In case you missed the blog and Facebook posts about my upcoming novel’s cover, here it is! A Subtle Grace is the sequel to In Name Only, although the books have been written to be read independent of the other. (For a richer reading experience, it’s better to read both…) Tentative Release Date is Fall, 2013. To see both covers check out yesterday’s blog post.
ASG sm

copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach
Thermometer photo from iStock

A Subtle Grace Book Cover

Drum roll, please! Here’s the cover of my upcoming Catholic historical novel, A Subtle Grace:
ASG sm

A Subtle Grace is the sequel to my second novel, In Name Only:
In name only much smaller

Special thanks to my husband, James Hrkach, for the photography and design and to Kristina Waclawik (cover model).

What do you think?

Image copyright 2013 Full Quiver Publishing

The Life I Dreamed by Kari Burke

Book_design_06“Human life is precious because it is the gift of a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is for ever.” John Paul II October 1979

A new baby, created in love, growing in his mother’s womb is indeed is a great gift, an eternal gift. With that gift, comes a huge responsibility: the responsibility of caring for the child in the womb and for bringing up that child, seeing to his needs and giving him the gift of faith. It’s not an easy job; in fact, it’s the most difficult and challenging job a parent will ever have to face. With the challenges, though, also comes joy.

“The Life I Dreamed” by first-time novelist, Kari Burke, is a beautifully moving and realistic novel that illustrates these pro-life attitudes and truths.

This is the story of Emmy O’Brien, a young wife who knows in her heart that motherhood is a gift, that children are a blessing and that marriage is a sacrament. However, after having four children close together along with the overwhelming demands of motherhood, Emmy becomes dissatisfied and critical. Her husband eventually receives a phone call from a 16 year old unwed pregnant girl who needs a place to stay. It takes this young unwed mother to help Emmy rediscover the fundamental belief that love is a decision, that sacrifice is an essential part of that love and that every life is an eternal gift from loving God.

I know many young mothers like Emmy. In fact, I saw a lot of myself in her.

It’s easy to say that you’re pro-life. It’s quite another thing to live the pro-life message on a day-to-day basis. I remember times that I was so tired and overwhelmed that I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I’ve also lived the pro-life message when several of my pregnancies turned dangerous and the doctors urged either my husband or me to become sterilized (which we refused and instead, used NFP). Motherhood is challenging and difficult and while it is most certainly a sacrifice, it is equally a joy to raise these “eternal gifts.” And, as many saints have reminded us, we are not alone in our struggles. God is there with us.

The characters in Kari Burke’s book are believable and well-defined. The story is not a fairy tale story with superficial one-dimensional characters who ride off into the sunset. This story is believable, painfully so at times. The main character, Emmy, complains frequently throughout the novel, although we see a major transformation of her character near the end of the book that shows a great deal of maturity as well as a few “light bulb” moments on her part.

The edition I read contained some minor editing issues and, as an editor, I found that distracting.

Overall, however, this was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! To find out more about this novel, check out the book’s website:

FREEBIE ALERT!!!The Life I Dreamed Kindle Edition is FREE today through Wednesday, January 23rd.

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – January 19

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

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.

Digital, Print or Both (latest Catholic Writers Guild Blog post)

Facing Infertility – The Catholic Approach (Book Review)

7 Quick Takes Friday (latest cartoon and other fun stuff)

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 55

7_quick_takes_sm1It’s time to join up with other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Prayer Intentions:
Continued prayers for Jen and Fulton.

2. March for Life – January 22
Large numbers are expected in Washington DC for the National March for Life. Check out this pro-life video with President Obama’s own words:

3. NFP Organizations and Working Together
James and I are fortunate to be part of a wonderful diocese where NFP organizations work together to promote NFP and not against each other. John Paul II never endorsed any one method of NFP over another. NFP teachers should work together to promote NFP, regardless of which method they use and teach. (More on NFP organizations working together in a future post…)

4. Wedding Photo (58 years ago)
This week would have been my parents’ 58th wedding anniversary. My father died when I was 18 and my mother remarried. However, every year on January 15, I remember them both. This photo shows my parents and both sets of grandparents.

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

5. Frost – It’s COLD!
It’s hard to see in this photo but it’s so cold that the frost is nearly three inches high on our window (it’s 30 below zero C).

copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

6. A Subtle Grace
My new novel’s cover will be unveiled next week! I’ve been trying to finish this manuscript so I can move onto other projects, although admittedly I’m enjoying the characters so much that I’m torn between wanting to finish and wanting to keep them around!

7. “Officially Married” Cartoon
Our latest cartoon for Family Foundations:

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/FQP

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/FQP

copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Facing Infertility – A Catholic Approach

163246My latest post at Amazing Catechists is entitled “Facing Infertility – A Catholic Approach.”

When I received a review copy of the newly-published book, Facing Infertility – A Catholic Approach, by Jean Dimech-Juchniewicz, I was a bit surprised there wasn’t already a Catholic book which specifically dealt with the topic of infertility. When I searched online, I could only find secular or Christian books on this subject.

This new book is an ideal resource for Catholic couples who want more information on increasing their chances of conceiving. At the same time, she explains why certain fertility procedures are morally wrong.

Because of a variety of factors, infertility has become increasingly common in our culture. Fortunately, with advances in modern technology, more infertile couples are able to conceive children. However, not all of these modern techniques are morally acceptable. For example, selective abortion and destroying embryos that are not implanted are procedures that are obviously wrong. But many Catholics don’t realize that in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination and other modern techniques are considered offenses against our faith (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2376, 2377) and considered mortal sins.

Dimech-Juchniewicz shares her personal infertility experience as well as the various things she learned in the process. She also includes short testimonies from infertile couples. Chapters touch on topics such as Expecting Fruitfulness, Working Through Denial, Understanding Your Options, Discerning Treatment, Handling Anger, Coping With Sadness, Considering Adoption, Following God in the Midst of Suffering and many others. Questions for Reflection and Discussion end each chapter. Several extensive appendices list resources for the infertility couple such as “Patron Saints for Infertile Couples” as well as prayers and other helpful books.

This is an outstanding book and an excellent resource. The emotional and spiritual dimensions of infertility are covered exceptionally well. Information on NaPro Technology and Natural Family Planning are mentioned and resources are given for these morally acceptable ways of achieving pregnancy.

You can purchase this book at Pauline Books and Media or

Highly recommend!

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Angela’s Song Free January 15 and 16

AS Front Cover Final9-19Angela’s Song (Kindle edition) by AnnMarie Creedon (published by Full Quiver Publishing) will be free tomorrow (January 15) and Wednesday (January 16).

Catholic Sistas posted a wonderful interview with the author, AnnMarie Creedon, today.

Sarah Reinhard recently posted this review at her website:

“Great story. Real characters. Good writing. This book was, in some ways, applied Theology of the Body. It’s romance that’s just about what I like and Catholicism not shoved down my throat.
Guys, be warned: I’d call this chick lit. Gals, be encouraged: it’s gooood. It’s “name a big well-sold author” good. It’s completely Catholic, but it’s also completely honest. It presents real life in a way that will make you think that you could be lunching with these people. This book deals head-on with issues that Catholic women face, and it doesn’t apologize for Church teaching or for human mistake. Rather, it explores what could happen.”

Sarah Reinhard also listed Angela’s Song as one of her ten favorite novels for 2012!

Download your free Kindle copy of Angela’s Song on January 15 or 16.

Digital, Print or Both?

Kindle photoMy latest post at the Catholic Writers Guild blog is entitled: “Digital, Print or Both?”

New self-publishers often ask the question: should I go digital, print or both?

Ten years ago when I was in the beginning stages of self-publishing my first book, I never considered offering my book digitally on a wide scale. Although I occasionally sent PDFs to reviewers, the digital revolution had not yet taken off. As well, I was concerned about e-book piracy (which will be a topic of a future post).

Fast forward seven years. On a whim, I decided to convert and upload my first two books to Kindle (at the time, there were no conversion programs…it took weeks of trial and error to figure out how to do it). However, this “whim” soon became the best publishing and financial decision I ever made.

For more on how my e-books became successful, check out my previous CWG blog post.

If I were doing it today, I would probably do both. However, digital publishing is ideal to start with since there are no major printing costs to spend up front and you can reach millions of people within hours.

I still use a printing company (more on “print-on-demand” companies in a future post) for hard copy books, but I sell many more e-copies than print. Because of this success, my company is now publishing other authors’ books.

Here are some pointers I’ve come up with for publishing e-books:

Use Professional E-Conversion Companies (or learn how to do it professionally yourself)
Once you’ve uploaded your book to Kindle, use the previewer to determine whether it’s formatted properly…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve downloaded a book (some by established authors) that was not formatted correctly, like missing words, letters or words on different lines, which makes it difficult to read.

E-books still need editors. Check out my previous post about editors.

Cover Designer
I can usually tell a self-published book a mile away by the look of the cover. Please employ a professional. The cover design should be a normal cover size (and please, not a horizontal rectangle!)
Check out my previous post about covers.

Book Blurb
Must be well-written and short enough to pique your prospective readers’ interest, but not give them too much information.

Kindle KDP or Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc.
You must decide whether to go exclusively with Kindle KDP or have your book be available on other e-reader sites. The advantages of having your book exclusively on Kindle is that you can do free promotions (successful free promotions almost always bring a surge in actual sales following the free promotion). Your book also gets to be part of the KDP Library that Amazon Prime members can borrow for free. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get paid. A few months ago, for every borrow, I actually received MORE money than I did for each sale (2.20).

To find out more about the KDP Program:

If you’d prefer to have your book available for other e-readers, check out Smashwords as they are a distributor for the other e-readers. A warning, however: Smashwords does not offer the same sort of piracy protection that Kindle does. (E-book piracy will be a topic of an upcoming post…)

Digital or Print? I’d say do both…but start with digital!

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – January 12

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

It’s almost Sunday so it’s time to connect with other bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets.

I’ve been trying to finish the edits of the first draft of my fourth novel, A Subtle Grace, so my week was light on blogging and I only managed to post once:

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 54

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach