Ella’s Promise Receives Seal of Approval

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My book, Ella’s Promise, has just received the Seal of Approvalfrom the Catholic Writers Guild for quality and content!

All three of the series, Julia’s Gifts, Charlotte’s Honor and Ella’s Promise, now have the Seal of Approval!

Here is the link for all books in the series:  Great War Great Love Series.

Reviews for Ella’s Promise:

Readers will love this third installment in the Great War Great Love series with espionage, romance, faith, and determination all set amidst the backdrop of wartime France.” Carolyn Astfalk, author, Ornamental Graces

“Ella’s Promise is a story of love tested through war-time confusion and pain, enduring into a new hope for a better future.” A.K. Frailey, author of historical fiction/science fiction

An enjoyable read that fans of historical fiction are sure to love. ” Theresa Linden, author of contemporary romance, Anyone But Him

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Extreme Blindside – New Release by Leslea Wahl #newrelease

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Synopsis: Extreme Blindside follows teen snowboarder Jake Taylor and his aspiring-reporter girlfriend, Sophie, as they struggle to navigate his newfound fame and all that comes with it. When Jake accepts a gig as the celebrity spokesperson for a new state-of-the-art athletic training facility, he hopes that his fame will bring some attention to its accessibility for Special Olympians and para-athletes. He agrees to do some publicity promotion and to participate in the facility’s first competition. But Jake gets far more than he bargains for as he becomes further embroiled in a world of reporters, gushing female fans, and bitter athletic rivals. In the chaos of it all, he begins to rely more and more on God’s help to navigate the ins and outs of his job, his public interactions, and his relationship with Sophie.

As Sophie struggles to accept their changing relationship and still cover the story of his first competition at the new facility, she begins to wonder if Jake might be in real danger, as one by one athletes for the upcoming competition are sabotaged or injured. As the competition approaches, things begin to get dangerous. Time is running out for Jake and Sophie to figure out what is going on before he is also sabotaged . . . or worse. With thrilling adventures and real teen struggles, Extreme Blindside inspires teens to consider how their faith in God might guide them in their own lives and relationships. Fast-paced and exciting, this book is an engaging read for teens or young adults who enjoy stories about sports, adventures, mysteries, or fame.

To buy Extreme Blindside:

Amazon

Pauline Press

The Big Three TOB

An Open Book – January #openbook

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for “An Open Book.”  Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past month (and will be reading this month).

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The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt

Amazon Synopsis: Is love ever wrong?Paul Meyer has never let anyone get too close.Until Max.The Lion’s Heart is a heart-rending story about love and sacrifice. The emotional struggle of Paul’s same-sex attraction, the guilt he feels, and his ambivalence toward his Catholic faith all come together in this look inside the heart of a tortured man. “Dena Hunt is a consummate story-teller who does not shirk or shy away from the difficult questions about life and love that her story raises. The Lion’s Heart contains not only the loves of lovers, spouses, parents, and children but also the demons and dragons that selfishness unleashes. The Lion’s Heart is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for the hard-hearted. It pulsates with a passion that will bring true hearts to their knees.” Joseph Pearce, author of The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, co-editor of the St. Austin Review

My review: I reread a few weeks ago in preparation for a radio interview.  The interviewer wanted to ask me about a “Catholic novel that impacted me.”  I know I am slightly biased because I published this book, but even before I published it, I knew it was an extraordinary book.  The author brilliantly illustrates the Church’s teachings on sexuality through the story and characters. Highly recommend.

Barron

Letter to a Suffering Church by Bishop Robert Barron

Amazon Synopsis: The sexual abuse scandal has gripped the Catholic Church for the past thirty years, and continues to wreak havoc even today. It’s been a diabolical masterpiece, one that has compromised the work of the Church in every way and has left countless lives in ruin. Many Catholics are understandably asking, Why should I stay? Why not abandon this sinking ship before it drags me or my children under? In this stirring manifesto, Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, explains why this is not the time to leave, but the time to stay and fight. Reading the current crisis through the lenses of Scripture and Church history, Bishop Barron shows that we have faced such egregious scandals before; that the spiritual treasures of the Church were preserved by holy men and women who recommitted themselves to fighting evil; and that there is a clear path forward for us today. For Catholics questioning their faith, searching desperately for encouragement and hope, this book will offer reasons to stay and fight for the Body of Christ.

My review: I received this book for free from a local parish and read it one Sunday afternoon in December.  Bishop Barron gives a lot of excellent insight and guidance regarding the Church scandals.  Highly recommend (and only .75 on Kindle!)

 

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The Book of Jotham by Arthur Powers

Synopsis: For 23 years the completed manuscript of The Book of Jotham sat in the author s desk drawer typewritten collecting dust and time. On an early autumn day in 2012, the manuscript arrived at Tuscany Press, and we discovered this compelling and moving story.

Jotham is a mentally challenged man-child who, like the other apostles, follows Jesus as Christ carries out his ministry and experiences death by crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Yet the other apostles the dedicated Mary, Peter, Thomas, and the rest while they care for Jotham and look out for him, don t understand why Jesus loves him so. Thomas even says, after Jesus offers a parable, I don t see why all the pots can t be strong and beautiful.

Jotham may be different, but through him, we come to see Jesus and Jotham not just with our eyes, but also with our hearts.

My review:  I read this again in preparation for FQP publishing the second edition of this book (hopefully before June!)  This is another book that is brilliantly written through the eyes of a mentally challenged man who follows Jesus. It’s a short read, but is very powerful.

 

Rule

Mortal Danger by Ann Rule

Amazon Synopsis: Featured here is the case of a Southern California family man who lured a beautiful flight attendant into a passionate and dangerous relationship. Other cases include that of the woman who masterminded her husband’s murder to gain his inheritance…the monstrous sadist whose prison release damaged a presidential candidate’s campaign and ended in a bitter double tragedy in a quiet neighborhood three thousand miles away…the shocking DNA link between a cold-blooded crime and a cold case…and inside the horrific case of the man who crossed an ocean and several countries to stalk the Eurasian beauty who had fled from him in desperation.

My review: Every now and then, I enjoy reading about true crime cases and Ann Rule is never a disappointment.  She takes the reader through cases with great attention to detail.  Recommend.

 

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Five Days in November by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin

Amazon Synopsis:  Don’t miss the New York Times bestseller Five Days in November, where Secret Service agent Clint Hill tells the stories behind the iconic images of those five infamous, tragic days surrounding JFK’s assassination, published for the 50th anniversary of his death.

On November 22, 1963, three shots were fired in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the world stopped for four days. For an entire generation, it was the end of an age of innocence.

That evening, a photo ran on the front pages of newspapers across the world, showing a Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the President and Mrs. Kennedy. That agent was Clint Hill.

Now Secret Service Agent Clint Hill commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy with this stunning book containing more than 150 photos, each accompanied by Hill’s incomparable insider account of those terrible days. With poignant narration accompanying rarely seen images, we witness three-year-old John Kennedy Jr.’s pleas to come to Texas with his parents and the rapturous crowds of mixed ages and races that greeted the Kennedys at every stop in Texas. We stand beside a shaken Lyndon Johnson as he is hurriedly sworn in as the new president. We experience the first lady’s steely courage when she insists on walking through the streets of Washington, DC, in her husband’s funeral procession.

A story that has taken Clint Hill fifty years to tell, this is a work of personal and historical scope. Besides the unbearable grief of a nation and the monumental consequences of the event, the death of JFK was a personal blow to a man sworn to protect the first family, and who knew, from the moment the shots rang out in Dallas, that nothing would ever be the same.

My review: My parents were devastated at President Kennedy’s assassination. I was only four years old at the time, but all I remember is seeing my parents cry and the beating of the drums during the televised funeral. Ever since then, I’ve read many books on the assassination.  This one was particularly interesting in that it tells the story from the POV of the secret service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy.  Compelling read.  Highly recommend.

 

Ella’s Promise VBT

We’ve come to the end of my new book’s Virtual Book Tour and I’d like to say thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who took part!

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Virtual Book Tour Stops/Links

November 3  Carolyn Astfalk My Scribbler’s Heart Blog

November 4  Steven McEvoy Book Reviews and More

November 5  Theresa Linden Catholic Books Blog

November 6  Therese Heckenkamp

November 7 Patrice MacArthur

November 8  Amanda Lauer

November 9  Sarah Reinhard

November 10  Jean Egolf

November 12 Leslea Wahl

November 13  Trisha Potter

November 14   The Yeoman Farmer, Christopher Blunt

November 15  Plot Line and Sinker

The book is available on Kindle and in Paperback.

EP Book Tour 150

Veterans Day-Remembrance Day 2019

My three fathers served a total of 16 years in various branches of the United States armed forces.

My father, Frank Gable, served in the United States Marine Corps from 1946-1950 and in the United States Army from 1950-1954. However, November 11th has always held a special place in my heart because it is my father’s birthday. Today he would’ve been 91. He died suddenly and tragically at the age of 49, just before my 19th birthday. My family and I walked around in shock, trying to get through the days following his death.

Frank Gable was short in stature (around five feet six inches tall), enjoyed watching “Gomer Pyle,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and the “Honeymooners.” He enjoyed playing the card game, Rummy, and Monopoly. His favorite candy was Hershey’s Kisses.  Over the years, he worked as a clerk and mailman. Years ago, my mom shared with me that he is the one who named me. And, when I was 15 or 16, he used to hug me and say, “El, you need to find a guy just about my size because you fit perfectly to me when we hug.” (I did!)

For Christians, the consolation is that we will see our loved ones again. I know that I will see my dad again someday. Until then…Happy Birthday, Dad. Remembering you in a special way today.

My father-in-law, Tony Hrkach (1925-1995) served as a tail gunner in the United States Air Force during the second World War.

Near the end of the war, during a routine mission, Tony’s plane was shot down over Yugoslavia (coincidentally, near his father’s birthplace). Frantically, he and his buddies parachuted out of the airplane. Unfortunately, however, one of his friends hit the side of a mountain and was killed. Tony and the others made it safely to the ground and were captured as soon as they landed.

They were marched for miles until they reached a POW camp. Remarkably, they found the Germans running the camp to be kind and, while it was not easy to be a prisoner of war, they were treated humanely.

When an announcement came over the radio that Germany had lost the war, their captors immediately handed their weapons and guns over to the Americans. Then, in a strange moment of understanding, they exchanged small personal tokens as reminders of their time together.

“I don’t just think of myself as a citizen of the United States; I think of myself as a citizen of the world,” he used to say. His idea was that we should remember first and foremost that we are all human beings, especially in time of war.

Like my own father and many other veterans, my father-in-law enjoyed “Hogan’s Heroes,” the television sitcom from the 1960’s about a German POW camp. The show attempted to put a human spin on such horrific times…the very thing that Tony found in his real experience with the ‘enemy.’  (With thanks to my husband James for writing this account of his father’s experience in the second World War.)

26910466_10212348569646543_8903877012294292610_oMy stepfather, Joseph Power (1933-2012), trained in Parris Island, South Carolina, before shipping out to Korea. He attained the silver badge in Marine Marksman. Like my father and father-in-law, Joe never liked to talk about his experiences with war.  But he would say things like, “Be grateful for warm showers,” or “If that’s your only complaint, be thankful that you’re not being fired at.”

While we remember all those who fought in wars so that we may live in freedom, let us also remember that the real enemy isn’t necessarily the people we fight against, but the evil circumstances that result from greed, lust and power.

Copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach 2019

Open Book – October 2019

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for “An Open Book.”  Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past month (and will be reading this month).

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Ella’s Promise (Great War-Great Love #3)

I’ve been editing, re-reading and re-editing for the past month.  The third in the Great War Great Love trilogy will be published on November 1, 2019!

Synopsis: When she joins the war effort during the Great War, American nurse Ella Neumann doesn’t see allies or enemies. The daughter of German immigrants, all she sees are human beings in need of care. A promise to herself and a promise made to her by an enemy officer become the catalyst for the life she plans to lead after the war. But a handsome Canadian soldier may complicate her plans. In this third installment of the Great War – Great Love series, join Ella in a tale of promises, betrayal and unconditional love.

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Shubert and Sophie 

by Dr. Becky Bailey (illustrated by James Hrkach)

Synopsis: The beloved Shubert and Sophie books build character through conflict for both children and adults. An endearing lightning bug named Shubert, his little sister Sophie, and their friends at Bug Valley School demonstrate using the Seven Skills of Conscious Discipline to solve problems. Shubert’s parents and teacher model Conscious Discipline for adults.

My review: It’s hard to be unbiased since my husband illustrated all these books.  We just gave a full set to our grandson (and signed by his grandfather, the illustrator!), so we read through them again.  When James first began illustrating Shubert, our youngest son was in the womb! It’s hard to believe there are now so many of them and that we have a grandson to give them to! Highly recommend!

WithoutTrace

Without a Trace by Sylvia Wrigley

Amazon Synopsis: True Stories of Aircraft and Passengers Who Disappeared Into Thin Air.    For many, aviation still brings with it an air of mystery, a century-long magic trick. Though most of us will board an aircraft at some point in our lives, we know little about how they work and the procedures surrounding their operation. It is that mystery that makes these losses, such as the vanishing of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, so terrifying.
Without a Trace explores the most interesting of these disappearances: mysteries that have baffled investigators for years. Occasionally tragic, frequently amusing, Without a Trace is unerringly accurate and informative.
The two Without a Trace volumes span 150 years and explore mysteries from around the world. This is volume one, beginning just before the golden age of aviation with a manned balloon swept over the English Channel, and ending with a top-secret spy plane disappearing at the height of the cold war. Each case is laid out in rich detail and presented chronologically, highlighting the historical context, official accident reports and contemporary news surrounding each mystery.
Where did they go?

Sylvia Wrigley introduces the crews, innocent bystanders and rescuers in this collection of true stories. Documenting the popular theories from each case, she uses her knowledge and experience as a pilot and an aviation journalist to demystify aviation jargon and narrow down each disappearance to the most likely explanations.
This collection takes a hard look at the human failings of great aviators, explorers and celebrities who have pushed the limits of flight and ended up at the heart of a mystery. The stories encompass airships, military jets and commercial airlines – all of which have vanished without a trace.

My review: I’m currently reading this.  It’s interesting (and I love a good missing persons/airplane story), but the author’s writing is a bit stilted.  Otherwise, it’s an interesting book. Review to come.

The Time in Between

The Time in Between by William Judd

Back cover synopsis: Fred Nash, an adolescent in the 1960’s, emerging from a repressive home life and seeking to recover from the loss of a first love, finds himself depressed and adrift.  Will he find a true path for himself, or will he succumb to chaos and despair in the midst of a decade of significant cultural change?

My review: This is a moving coming-of-age story about a young man in the sixties. I enjoyed all the different references to music, TV and movies because I was a young child of the sixties.  You can purchase the book here at this link.

The Time in Between by William Judd

The Time in Between

New Book by William Judd: The Time In Between

Synopsis:  Fred Nash, an adolescent in the 1960’s, emerging from a repressive home life and seeking to recover from the loss of a first love, finds himself depressed and adrift.  Will he find a true path for himself, or will he succumb to chaos and despair in the midst of a decade of significant cultural change?

Reviews:

“This is a remarkable book by a first-time author.  It is a coming-of-age story with all the trials and tribulations that that entails.  But it is an evocative remembrance of the sixties.  Bill Judd captures the tone and feel of the time:  the expressions, the tastes, the opinions, the small town parochialism of middle America, as well as the worries and joys unique to teenagers in that time and place.”

Leslie Graitcer, former Executive Director, Bell South Foundation

“Bill Judd’s The Time in Between is a gripping coming of age story interweaving the turbulence of adolescence  with the social upheaval of the 1960’s.  Judd’s personalized approach to the narrative also touches religious and family themes in a thought-provoking page turner, immersing the reader in the travails and travels of the main character, Fred Nash.”

Tom Bartlett, editor, author of Songs from the Lifeboat

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About the Author

William Judd has lived in Concord, NH, for 32 years.  There he and his wife have raised five children.  He is a retired high school English teacher and hospital nurse.  This is his first novel.