7 Quick Takes Friday – New Book, New Reviews & Downton Abbey!!

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Early Feedback for A Subtle Grace
One beta reader said that it was a “tremendous sequel.” Another reader said that it is “your very best work. I absolutely loved it! I particularly enjoyed how you wove a pro-life message throughout the book without being preachy. And it was so easy to read! It just flowed. Wonderful!” A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. New 5 Star Reviews on Amazon.com for Stealing Jenny
I’m very grateful for the most recent reviews of Stealing Jenny on Amazon. Of the last ten, nine have been five stars and one, four stars. From Claire: “This book held my attention from beginning to the end. I read it in one day even through the president’s state of the union message. It was well written, fast moving, and really believable.”
From Meredith: “Being a mother, I totally relate to this. Some might write this off as a Catholic lack of reality story. Not me. I’m not Catholic, more pro-choice with a personal feeling of pro-life. It’s a real MUST READ kind of book, and this comes from my heart. But the reader has to dig deeper and realize the emotional depth that Ellen has brought to us.”

3. Downton Abbey Season Four (Spoiler Alert)DA-405-Bates-Anna300x231I’ve so enjoyed this Masterpiece Theatre/PBS British show for the past few years. My favorite couple is Anna and Bates. She’s usually so joyful and such a good person deep down and her husband, who is many years older, is a sweet and gentle man. I wasn’t convinced that their romance was the right thing for either of them during the first season when they began their courtship, but now it seems so natural for them to be together. This season has been difficult for them. Anna has been raped and until last week’s episode has been able to keep it secret from her husband because she’s afraid he will kill the man who did it. During last week’s episode, he overhears her speaking to Mrs. Hughes and finds out Anna’s secret.

Anna: “Well, it’s in the open. No more secrets. I’m glad of that at least. No more fear of being found out, because I am found out. My shame has nowhere to hide.”
Bates: “Why do you talk of shame? I don’t accept that there is any shame in this.”
Anna: “But I’m spoiled for you! And I can never be unspoiled.”
Bates: “You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me, and holier because of the suffering you have been put through. You are my wife, and I have never been prouder, nor loved you more than I do now at this moment.”
Anna: “Truly?”
Bates: “Truly.”

I know these are actors, but when you have brilliant writing, outstanding acting and excellent direction, well, these actors ARE Anna and Bates. We’ll see what happens next week and whether he will find out who assaulted his wife. But after last season (when Bates was finally vindicated and released from prison), no one wants to see him in prison again or — worse — hanged for killing a man, even if it was the man who raped his wife.)

4. Picture Perfect yellow shirtsIt’s hard to believe, but this was only my second published article. It was written in 2002 and appeared in Family Foundations, Spring 2003 issue: I tried to take a mental snapshot of the previous 10 minutes or so. Everyone had come to the table for dinner without being asked twice. The food was piping hot. All five children were sitting and quietly waiting for grace to begin. A soft snow had started falling outside, the woodstove was crackling, cookies were baking in the oven and the Christmas tree, which smelled fresh and green, sparkled with the twinkling lights. It all seemed so perfect, like a painting by Norman Rockwell or a scene from “Ozzie and Harriet.” For just a minute, I had wished that, like in the “Twilight Zone,” life would stop so I could savor the moment. I knew, however, that the scene wouldn’t last like that for long.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

5.Stealing Jenny: Featured Book on Freebooksy!
This past week, my book, Stealing Jenny, was featured on Freebooksy!Freebooksy

6. Reading Shelf
2012 Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction

7. Cease Fire Cartoon

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – January 26

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 and answer a weekly question. This week’s question: Where do you get your Catholic reading material? I normally get my Catholic reading material from Amazon.com (for my Kindle) and the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show every year.

7 Quick Takes Friday – Free Books, Cool Recipes (leave a comment at that blog post before January 31st to be entered to win a free print copy of Stealing Jenny)

St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Free Books, Cool Recipes!

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Leave a comment below (before Friday, January 31st) to win a free print copy of Stealing Jenny, my third novel! Speaking of novels, A Subtle Grace, is nearly ready for the proofreaders! I’m waiting for one more beta reader to send her comments, then it’s off to the printer and to the proofreaders!!

1. FREE BOOKS!!
Monday, January 27 to Wednesday, January 29, my third novel,Stealing Jenny, will be FREE on Kindle! To download the book for free Monday to Wednesday next week, click this link. (Please note: It won’t be free until Monday!!)

And if you don’t have a Kindle and want a PRINT copy, leave a comment below (before January 31st) to win a paperback copy of Stealing Jenny! (Sorry…North America ONLY, please!!)

2. Stealing Jenny on Amazon Japan
I think it’s so cool that my books are available all over the world. Here’s a screenshot of the profile page of Stealing Jenny on Amazon Japan. If you click on the picture, it will take you right to the actual Amazon Japan page. Stealing Jenny Japan

3. Brrrr!! It’s Cold!!
Temps have been averaging minus 30 C. with the windchill. I’m ready for spring.Thermometer in winter

4. Scrumptious Chicken Lemon Soup!
It’s been so cold this past week that all I want to do is snuggle up in a warm chair in front of the wood stove and drink tea or eat soup. This is a scrumptious chicken-lemon soup recipe.

5. Banana Almond Bread
Oooh, this looks like a great recipe for tasty banana bread! I haven’t tried it yet, but I will this weekend, as soon as I can find almond flour. This is gluten free and, I’m told, super delicious and healthy! http://www.beautifullynutty.com/banana-almond-bread-gluten-free/

6. Reading Shelf
An Unmarked Grave – Charles Todd
The Watson Chronicles – Ann Margaret Lewis

7. Man Up Cartoon

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach (all rights reserved, do not use without permission)

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach (all rights reserved, do not use without permission)

Don’t forget to leave a comment (before January 31st) to win a free print copy of Stealing Jenny!

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

stagnesToday is the Feast of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. I knew little of this saint until I read about her during my research for A Subtle Grace. I have dedicated my book to her.

It’s no surprise that St. Agnes’ feast day is so close to the U.S. March for Life. Agnes’ name in Greek means “chaste, pure or sacred,” and in Latin, it means “lamb.” She is the patron saint of young girls, chastity, engaged couples and rape victims (and others). In past centuries, young girls would recite this prayer/poem to St. Agnes on the Eve of the feast day with the hope they would dream of their future husband.

The following is a link to an excerpt of A Subtle Grace which includes the prayer/poem to St. Agnes:

Excerpt from A Subtle Grace

St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us!

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 our posts from the previous week and answer a weekly question.

This week, RAnn asked if we got a “Patron Saint of the Year” from the saints’ generator. My answer: Yes, my 2014 patron saint is St. John of Kanty. You can find out more about him here. He’s the patron saint of workers who have been unjustly fired. Another saint I’ve been praying to daily is St. Agnes, who is my novel’s patron saint. She is the patron saint of rape victims, among other things.

My one and only post this week was 7 Quick Takes:

7 Quick Takes Friday – Birthdays, Anniversaries Etc

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Birthdays, Anniversaries Etc.

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

1. 18th Birthday!!
My fourth son turns 18 next week. I can’t believe I will have four adult sons when he turns 18! To me, it is always a joy to watch my sons grow older. But my two youngest sons (photo below) have a special place in my heart. When my third son was 10 months old, I nearly died from complications of an ectopic pregnancy. We were told not to have any more children. Through prayer and discernment (Responsible Parenthood blog post), we chose to be open to more children and I’m so thankful we were.

2. Grandmother’s Birthday
Next week is also my maternal grandmother’s birthday. Bessie May passed away in July of 1967, but every year on her birthday, I remember her in a special way. If you look at both the photo of my fourth son as a toddler and my grandmother’s photo above, you’ll probably see some resemblance.

3. March for Life
In honor of the March for Life next week in Washington, I’d like to recommend that you read the lyrics of the pro-life song that my husband wrote when he was a teenager.

4. Parents’ Anniversary
My father has been gone for 36 years and my mother for seven, but I always remember them on their anniversary, January 15th (two days ago). They were married on January 15, 1955. My maternal grandparents on the right, my paternal grandparents on the left.

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

5. A Subtle Grace Update
Beta readers are nearly finished reading the pre-publication draft of my novel, A Subtle Grace. Proofreaders will be reading it next.A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

6. Recommended Reading
In honor of the March for Life in Washington next week, I’d like to recommend to following great pro-life books:
Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn
Unplanned by Abby Johnson
The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by an Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind by Dr. Bernard Nathanson

7. Dust Bunnies Cartoon

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach