Humbled, Honored and Surprised: Arnprior Author Inducted Into Hall of Fame in New Jersey

Ellen Gable Hrkach photo.jpgFrom the Arnprior Chronicle Guide:

When local author, Ellen Gable Hrkach, was informed this past July that she was being inducted into her high school’s hall of fame, she was “humbled, honoured and surprised.” The award is “in recognition of outstanding achievement” regarding her success as an author of fiction. The induction ceremony took place on Oct. 7 in Glassboro, N.J. A graduate of Triton High School, class of 1977, Hrkach was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated sixth in a class of over 450 students. She joins 40 other Triton alumni whhave been inducted over the years.

The author recently released her ninth book, Charlotte’s Honor, the second of three books in the Great War — Great Love series. The first in the series, Julia’s Gifts, was published last year. Both books are appropriate for age 12 and over.

Hrkach, who writes under her maiden name (Gable), says that she “enjoys creating stories, especially historical fiction.” In her new book, Charlotte’s Honor, 21-year-old Charlotte enlists as a medical volunteer during the Great War. She begins working in the death ward of the field hospital near Soissons, France, holding dying men’s hands and singing them into eternity.

Award-winning author Therese Heckenkamp highly recommended the novel, saying that it’s an “authentic story of compassion, self-sacrifice, and the true meaning of love.” Dr. Jean Egolf, wrote that “Charlotte’s Honor is a beautiful, tender and moving story set during World War One …” and that “it will not disappoint.”

The main female characters in the series are American and their love interests are Canadian. “I am American, and my husband, James, is Canadian. It’s been fun exploring that relationship with fictional characters.”

Originally from the Philadelphia-South Jersey area, Hrkach is now a dual citizen, having received her Canadian citizenship in 2014. The author began writing Christian fiction when her five sons were small children. The hobby eventually turned into a full-time career of writing, editing, book coaching, and ghostwriting.

She is currently working on the third novel of the Great War — Great Love series, Ella’s Promise, as well as two other novels entitled Where Angels Pass and A Faithful Heart.

Awards and Translations

In 2015, Hrkach’s fifth book, A Subtle Grace, was a finalist in the IAN Book Awards in both the romance and historical categories. In 2010, Hrkach’s second book, In Name Only, won the IPPY Gold Medal in Religious Fiction. In 2006, her first novel, Emily’s Hope, won an Honourable Mention in the IPPY awards.

All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. Her third book, Stealing Jenny, is available in three languages: Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian and will soon be translated into Lithuanian. Julia’s Gifts is available in Italian and will soon be available in Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Stealing Jenny is also available as an audiobook (narrated by Lisa Reichert). Since 2009, the author’s books have been collectively downloaded nearly a quarter of a million times on Kindle. To date, she has published nine original works and has contributed to numerous other books.

Upcoming Book Signings

The author will be signing and selling books at the following events during the month of November:

Friday, Nov. 2: The Knights of Columbus Ladies’ Shopping Night, St. John Chrysostom Parish Hall, Arnprior, Ont., from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 10: Catholic Women’s League Bake Sale and Bazaar, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Hall, Braeside, Ont. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 24: Christmas Craft, Bake and Business Sale, Nick Smith Centre, Arnprior, Ont. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Charlotte’s Honor costs $15 for the print edition and $4.99 for the Kindle edition. It’s available online via Amazon and through the publisher’s website at www.fullquiverpublishing.com. More information can be found at the author’s website: www.ellengable.com.

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Charlotte’s Honor Publication Day!

Charlotte's Honour Front Cover smI’m thrilled to finally share my new novel, Charlotte’s Honor (Great War Great Love #2). Today is the release day and the beginning of the Virtual Book Tour!

Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the novel.

May 1918, Vauxbuin Field Hospital, Near Soissons, France

The air was thick with the mineral stench of blood. Inside the canvas tent that served as Barrack Number 48, Charlotte searched for a place in the unconscious soldier’s body to insert the hypodermic.  The poor gentleman had burns and wounds everywhere, but she managed to find a one-inch diameter spot on his thigh in which to plunge the needle.  The man didn’t flinch, and Charlotte suspected that his injuries were too grave for him to survive.  She recited a silent prayer for this man’s soul, then moved onto the next soldier.

The large canvas tents that were part of the field hospital covered the lawn in front of the chateau. Most volunteers referred to it as a chateau because it looked the part with its high ceilings, plentiful rooms and marble floors. However, it wasn’t a castle. It was a 19th century country manor.

A tendril of dark brown hair slipped from her headscarf, and she tucked it back in. Charlotte Patricia Zielinski didn’t care much whether her unruly hair was tame, but she did care about keeping healthy. She wasn’t a large girl, nor was she small.  However, roughhousing with her brother Ian for so many years made her strong.

After preparing another soldier for the operating theater, she took a short break and sat on a bench near the tent.

She glanced up at the dark sky, enjoying the quiet. After the sunrise, she’d hear the distant booming that came with being ten miles from the front.

After her bout with influenza last month, she’d felt fatigued for weeks.  In the past few days, she had enough energy to move a mountain.

Sister Betty, the medical volunteers’ middle-aged supervisor, called to her from the barrack beside her, Number 49.  She was a big-boned woman who seemed taller because she always stood so straight.  Charlotte wasn’t sure whether it was because she was British or because she was a big woman, but she also had a booming personality and a loud voice.

Charlotte stood up to speak with Sister.

“How many more men have to be prepared for the O.R., Miss Zielinski?”

“Four, Sister.”

“Maybe you’d be of more use in this barrack.” She pointed toward Number 49.

“Certainly.”  She turned to alert her co-worker in 48, when Sister yelled, “Wait.”

Charlotte stopped. “Yes?”

“Perhaps you’d better stay where you are. If there are only four left to prepare, finish that duty, then report to this barrack.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

It took a bit of getting used to, but here in Europe, nurses were referred to as sisters.  And all sisters – and most medical volunteers – wore headscarves that looked like habits.

She approached a soldier on a cot, noticing the maple leaf on his collar. Canadians tended to be an agreeable bunch.  He pursed his lips as she stripped his clothes, wincing as bits of skin came off with his pants.  The poor fellow tensed, but Charlotte could only offer, “I’m so sorry.  I am doing my best not to hurt you.”

The dark-haired man attempted a smile.

An ear-piercing explosion caused the world around Charlotte to vanish, and she reflexively collapsed on the cot, falling across the soldier lying in front of her. Ears ringing, she remained still for what seemed like an hour but was likely a few minutes. Blinking, she opened her eyes and stared at the metal side of the cot in front of her and felt the soldier moving underneath her.

To purchase Charlotte’s Honor, click here.

 

 

 

Hall of Fame Induction

A few months ago, I was thrilled to find out that my Alma Mater (Triton Regional High School, Runnemede, New Jersey) was planning to induct me (and ten other alumni) into their Alumni Hall of Fame.  The ceremony was on October 7, 2018.

Special thanks to Melissa Shepard, Ed Stahl, Tom Dorsey, and the entire TRHS Alumni Hall of Fame Committee. It was a wonderful celebration and a great opportunity to reconnect with some of my fellow classmates.

plaque

 

On the Stool

Photo by James Hrkach (used with permission)

Pixie Stitch photos of family

Photos by James Hrkach (used with permission) Photos of my family and dear friend and fellow Class of ’77 classmate, Marilyn!

The Distant Podium

Photo by James Hrkach (used with permission)

Yearbook Picture

Photo by James Hrkach (used with permission)

Here is a portion of the bio that was read aloud by Tom Dorsey, a member of the Alumni Committee:

Publishing under the name Ellen Gable, she is the author of nine books, hundreds of print and web articles and contributor to ten additional books. She is also an editor, book coach, publisher and ghostwriter. She served as the president of the Catholic Writers Guild from 2012 to 2015.

Ms. Gable’s second book won the IPPY Gold Medal in 2010 and her third book was an Amazon Kindle bestseller in Religious Suspense. Amazon reviewers identify Ms. Gable as a “talented author” and “masterful storyteller,” who has the “ability to writer beautiful Catholic fiction in any genre.”

Charlotte’s Honor Virtual Book Tour Links!

CH Book Tour Promo 100 (1)

Charlotte’s Honor Virtual Book Tour takes place beginning next week!

October 22      Plot Line and Sinker

October 23      Jean Heimann     A.K. Frailey

October 24      Book Reviews and More,   Patrice MacArthur

October 25      Amanda Lauer

October 26     Franciscan Mom

October 29     Carolyn Astfalk

October 30     Catholic Mom

November 1    Plot Line and Sinker

November 2    Michael Seagriff

November 5   Virginia Lieto

November 6  Leslea Wahl

November 7   Catholic Books Blog – Theresa Linden

November 8   Sarah Reinhard

November 9   Erin McCole Cupp

November 11  Plot Line and Sinker  Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day post

November 12  Mary Lou Rosien

November 13  Therese Heckenkamp

November 14  E.M. Vidal

November 15 Leticia Velasquez

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness 2018

Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month - october 15Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day but the entire month of October is devoted to Infant Loss Remembrance. James and I feel very blessed and grateful to be the parents of five young adult sons (ages 19-31). We are also blessed to be the parents of seven precious babies we lost through miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. This month, we remember in a special way these seven little souls (and intercessors) in heaven.

Here are a few of my reflections on pregnancy loss:

Among Women Podcast Episode 89 (Pat Gohn interviewed me about miscarriage and pregnancy loss)

Ecce Ancilla Domini, an article on openness to life.

Five Little Souls in Heaven (This article was written 24 years ago and published in the Nazareth Journal)

Difficult Anniversaries/Responsible Parenthood

One of the themes of my first novel, Emily’s Hope, is pregnancy loss.

This excerpt describes Emily’s loss of baby “Seth.”

“I need to push.” She wanted so desperately not to push, to allow her baby to stay inside of her, and for her to continue to nourish and nurture her child, but her body wouldn’t allow that. She pushed only twice and her small child was born. Emily heard a sound like a kitten crying, then realized that her baby had let out a small, soft, weak cry.

As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, the nurse immediately carried the baby across the room as the pediatric staff attempted to work on their child. Emily and Jason sat quietly, their hearts heavy with emotion. A few minutes later, she felt another contraction and her placenta was delivered. She could hear a nurse referring to “him,” and realized that their child was another boy. After a few minutes, the doctor brought him back, his small form still hidden in the blue hospital blanket. He spoke in a hushed, almost apologetic voice, “There is nothing we can do for him.”

He handed the tiny one-pound baby boy to his mother. Jason held onto Emily’s shoulder and watched as she cradled the smallest baby they had ever seen. He was so perfect and looked identical to their oldest son, Jake. His small body was covered with minute white hairs. He was perfect as he struggled to breathe. He was perfect as he opened his mouth to cry. Emily held her new son as gently as she could. Jason reached over and poured a few drops of water on him and said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Emily could feel the vibration of his tiny heart
beating fast.

The nurse came in with a Polaroid camera and asked if they wanted her to take a photo of their child. Emily nodded as the nurse took a photo of her and Jason and their tiny son. She gazed in awe at this miniature human being and marveled at the fact that even though he was tiny, he was so perfect. His little hands looked like a doll’s hands. She removed the baby blanket and laid his small, warm body on her chest. She could feel his heart beating rapidly. After several minutes, she wrapped him again in the small blue blanket.

Then, in an instant, he was still. She could feel that his heart had stopped and he wasn’t breathing, but he continued to feel warm and soft. He looked like a sleeping angel.

(End of excerpt.)

If you have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or infant death, please click on the link above “Baby Loss” for resources and helpful links.

Here is a list of other novels that have themes about infant/pregnancy loss:

In Name Only by Ellen Gable

A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable

Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable

A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer

Rose, Sola by Carmela Martino

The Rose and the Sword by Gina Marinello-Sweeney

Bane’s Eyes by Corinna Turner

Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk

 

In memory of our seven little souls in heaven:

Baby Hrkach Twins (June 1986)

Baby Hrkach (February 1991)

Baby Hrkach (June 1991)

Mary Elizabeth Hrkach (June 1993)

Seth Hrkach (April 1998)

Lucy Hrkach (March 2006)

 

Charlotte’s Honor Now Available for Pre-Order

Charlotte's Honour Front Cover sm

Charlotte’s Honor (Great War Great Love #2) Kindle Edition is now available for pre-order at this link!  It will be released on October 22, 2018, the Feast of St. John Paul II!

The paperback edition will be available shortly after October 22, 2018.

Synopsis: After receiving notification that her brother –and only relative — is killed in action during the Great War, 21-year-old Charlotte Zielinski enlists as a medical volunteer. She eventually begins working in the death ward of the field hospital near Soissons, France, holding dying men’s hands and singing them into eternity.

Dr. Paul Kilgallen is a Canadian surgeon working at the field hospital. During a siege by the enemy, everyone evacuates except for Paul and Charlotte, who volunteer to remain in the basement of the chateau to care for the critically ill soldiers.

During those three days, Charlotte sees a side of Paul that very few have seen and finds herself falling in love with him. Before Paul leaves for the front, he abruptly tells her that he cannot love her, and it would be best to “forget him.”

Just when the war is coming to a close, Charlotte is surprised by two events that are destined to change her life forever.

Advanced Reviews:

Charlotte’s Honor is a beautiful, tender, and moving story set during World War One.  The perfect mix of historical detail and romance, this second installment in Gable’s Great War Great Love Trilogy will not disappoint. Charlotte Zielinski,  to whom we were first introduced in Julia’s Gifts, is a strongly positive role model for our daughters. She endures trials throughout this story that most of us cannot imagine facing today, yet the genuine manner in which the characters react and respond rings true for all time. I would add Charlotte’s Honor to the must-read list for any historical fiction, mother-daughter generational, or virtue-based book club. Of course, Gable’s tales are perfectly delectable as a personal poolside treat as well!”       Jean Egolf, author,  the Molly McBride series

“Charlotte’s Honor includes a little bit of everything: WW1 history, sweet romance, and a little mystery/suspense. This page-turning love story (it’s a fast read!) is built on a foundation of faith and above all, the dignity of human life.  Charlotte (whose honor has more than one meaning here) devotes herself to the care of dying soldiers. It is through this calling that Charlotte meets and falls in love with Paul, a skilled surgeon who has closed his heart to the possibility of romance. Expect a little humor amidst the backdrop of wartime brutality and a couple of surprises along the way. Charlotte’s Honor is not only a pleasant romantic escape but edifying as well.” Carolyn Astfalk, author, Ornamental Graces, Rightfully Ours

“Set toward the end of the Great War, Charlotte’s Honor allows readers to glimpse ugliness and death, blossoming relationships, and the most challenging experiences a person could face, juxtaposing the brutality of war with the beauty of sacrificial love.”  Theresa Linden, award-winning author

“A charming story set in WW II France where love and faith endure through times of trial. Though Charlotte must face death every day, her commitment to kindness leads to hope and a new life.” A.K. Frailey, author of Last of Her Kind

“Ellen Gable delivers another impressive historical romance novel, a worthy sequel to her first book in the Great War Great Love series. When Charlotte Zielinski, a medical volunteer, meets skilled surgeon Dr. Paul Kilgallen at a field hospital in France during World War I, they face great hardships that require courage, dedication, hope—and faith. Charlotte’s Honor is an authentic story filled with compassion, self-sacrifice, and the true meaning of love. A wonderful read and highly recommended!”  Therese Heckenkamp, award-winning author

Where You Lead VBT

WhereverYouLead 500x750I’m happy to take part of the Virtual Book Tour for Leslea Wahl’s new book, Where You Lead.

A lonely girl with a vision of an unknown boy.

A son convinced his father must run for elected office.

Join Nick and Eve on the adventure of a lifetime when their faith to answer God’s call, leads them on a mission full of deception, mysterious clues and missing confederate gold.

My review: I thoroughly enjoyed this story about a senator’s son and a professor’s daughter who embark on a mission to solve a mystery regarding a Civil War treasure. I’ve only been to Washington DC twice and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting through this wonderful story.  Believable characters, an interesting story and rich imagery and setting. It’s targeted to teens but is a great read for readers of every age. Highly recommend!

Author Bio

Leslea Wahl lives in beautiful Colorado with her family. She strives to write Young Adult novels that will encourage teens to grow in their faith through fun, adventurous mysteries.

The inspiration for Where You Lead began over 25 years ago with a brief moment in a restaurant when a fleeting thought felt like an intriguing beginning of a book. Two decades later, that tiny spark of an idea turned into this novel about having the courage to say “yes” to God’s calling.author head shot

Leslea Wahl is the author of two other teen novels, The Perfect Blindside and An Unexpected Role. For more information on her award winning Young Adult mysteries please visit her website, http://www.LesleaWahl.com

Reviews

Where You Lead by Leslea Wahl is a mix of mystery, danger, and a “treasure hunt” adventure with a hint of romance. The plot thickens with every page, the mystery and danger increasing. Plunged into the heart of Washington DC, faith-filled characters Eve and Nick believe they are on a mission from God. I enjoyed the Civil War trivia and seeing the museums and monuments of our nation’s capital through the eyes of these characters. Even more, I loved the beautiful message that spoke through the pages: we all need the courage to say “yes” to God’s will, whether in big, life-changing moments or the little ways of every-day life. This story is sure to entertain teens and young adults.

Theresa Linden, author of award-winning Roland West, Loner 

Few authors are as talented in the genre of young adult fiction as Leslea Wahl. Two things especially amaze me about Wahl’s books. First of all is her delightful ability to get into the heads and hearts of today’s teenagers, delving straight into the way teenagers think and act. Reading her stories brings me back to high school and make me feel the pain and the joys and the uncertainties and the struggles of being young again. The other thing I especially admire is the author’s facility to blend the Catholic faith with her mystery plots. Wahl never preaches, but rather tosses her characters into exciting situations which make them grow unexpectedly in the love of God and neighbor. The world needs more books like this for today’s Catholic teens!

Susan Peek, bestselling author of God’s Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little Known Saints series

I was immediately drawn into this page-turner. A professor’s daughter and senator’s son find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving lost Civil War treasure — one that may have international implications in the present. It’s refreshing to read about teens who openly pray and who try to find out what God wants them to do; characters, dialogue, and humor are well-done.

Barb Szyszkiewicz CatholicMom.com

Amazon link:    https://www.amazon.com/Where-You-Lead-Leslea-Wahl/dp/1732134863

Link to the author’s online treasure hunt   http://lesleawahl.com/treasure/