Promotion…or the Strangest Place I’ve Ever Sold A Book

Picture 126Since a self-published author doesn’t have a publisher to help with promotion, it’s important to take every opportunity to promote oneself. Keep copies of your books in your car, always have business cards or bookmarks in your purse or wallet and…don’t be afraid to talk about your books.

I’ve sold books to the insurance man, the animal control officer, at family functions and churches. I’ve sold books to people on the beach and at the grocery story.

But, by far, the strangest place I’ve ever sold one of my books was at a local club/bar.

Now, I never go to bars or clubs, but on this particular night, my husband was performing with his jazz fusion band. During one song, he actually plays two different guitars. My husband is a very talented guitarist (see video).

That night, as I watched my husband perform, I noticed a tall fellow swaying to the music and staring at my husband. When the song finished, the band took a break. The tall man ran off in the direction of the stage. I followed close behind. The tall man spoke to my husband with the adulation of an adoring fan.

“Man, you’re the best guitarist I’ve ever seen! The way you play those two guitars…it’s just incredible! You’re better than Mick Jagger,” and he went on to list three or four other famous guitarists.

Now, my husband has enough humility for both of us. So he didn’t respond to the praise. Instead he looked my way and said, “This is my wife, Ellie.” My husband’s newest fan turned to me.“Your husband is the most incredibly talented guitarist I’ve ever seen or heard.”

“Isn’t he amazing?” was my response.

“He sure is.” We chatted for a few moments, then, out of the blue he said, “He’s so good, you should write a book about him.”

I burst out laughing. “Well, actually, I have written a book. It’s a novel called Emily’s Hope and it is loosely based on my life…and my husband is a major character in the book.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Do you have any copies with you?” (Self-published authors should always be prepared.) So I responded, “Of course.”

Admittedly, this 40-year-old tipsy man probably was not the target audience for my first novel. And…my husband felt I took advantage of a fellow who was drinking, and perhaps I did. But, well…a sale is a sale.

Humor aside, I’ve often wondered about this fellow who walked into the bar to have a good time and walked out with my novel in his hands. I hope he’s doing well.

(Re-edited) Copyright 2016 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Emily's HopeToday is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I have had four miscarriages and three ectopic pregnancies. My novel, Emily’s Hope, is the fictionalized true stories of myself and my great-grandmother, and the story of loss and triumph. 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 on to 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 so 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.

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.

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Great Summer Reads

Let’s talk summer! There’s nothing I like better than to sit under a tree on a warm summer’s day and read a story that will sweep me away. Full Quiver Publishing books make ideal summer reads!!

1. The Lion’s Heart
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt is currently available on Kindle and in softcover. With the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the US that legalizes same sex marriage, this book is even more relevant and encompasses the Catholic Church’s teachings on this topic. Of The Lion’s Heart, Joseph Pearce, well-known Catholic author, says, “Dena Hunt is a consummate storyteller 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.”
Front Cover Final revisedsm

2. In Name Only (O’Donovan Family)
In Name Only is the first in the O’Donovan Family series (although both this and its sequel can be read independently of the other). It has been downloaded over 160,000 times on Kindle and won the Gold medal in Religious Fiction at the 2010 IPPY Awards. Check out the novel website and the profile page on Amazon.In name only much smaller

3. A Subtle Grace (O’Donovan Family)
A Subtle Grace is my newest book and is available both on Kindle and in paperback. In her review, Trisha Niermeyer Potter, blogger at Prints of Grace, says this:
“This is one of my favorite contemporary works of Catholic fiction. The storytelling is masterful, the characters fascinating, and the writing is of high literary quality. People are imperfect—past, present, and future—but each is given the opportunity to grow, change, learn, and be redeemed. In this story it’s shown how the greatest mistake of our lives can be turned into one of the most amazing blessings and even be a source of hope for others. Life’s messy. People are complex. We’ve all got some skeletons in our closets, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also fit some trophies and triumphs in there as well. A Subtle Grace has all of the elements that good Catholic fiction should.”A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

4. Stealing Jenny
This is my biggest seller and most popular book as evidenced by the over 530 reviews on Amazon (and the six months it spent as a #1 bestseller on Kindle with over 280,000 downloads). It’s a quick and easy read. Check out the novel website here and the Amazon profile page here. Stealing Jenny

5. Don’t You Forget About Me by Erin McCole Cupp
Funny, quirky and great writing! Also referred to as a Theology of the Body mystery! Check out the novel website here and the Amazon page here. Don't You Forget About Me FTcasefrontcover

6. Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon
A beautiful Theology of the Body romance with over 200 reviews on Amazon! AS Front Cover Final9-19

7. A World Such as Heaven Intended
A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer is an ideal beach read! It is available on Kindle and in print.AWSAHI Final Cover

8. Emily’s Hope
My first book is based on the true stories of myself and my great-grandmother. Check out the novel website here to read an excerpt and reviews.Emily's Hope

There are two other non-fiction FQP books: Growing Up in God’s Image: A New Approach to the Facts of Life Talk and Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship.

NFP Week: Theology of the Body Fiction

Full Quiver logoOne of my favorite ways to promote the Theology of the Body is to recommend novels with a great TOB message. My publishing company publishes novels with Theology of the Body themes.

Want to learn more about the Theology of the Body? Interested in promoting it? Read and recommend one of these books! This list is not all-inclusive:

Emily’s Hope (Ellen Gable)Emily's Hope

In Name Only (O’Donovan Family Book 1) (Ellen Gable)In name only much smaller

Stealing Jenny (Ellen Gable)Stealing Jenny

Passport (Christopher Blunt)passport

Angela’s Song (AnnMarie Creedon)AS Front Cover Final9-19

Don’t You Forget About Me (Erin McCole Cupp)Don't You Forget About Me FTcasefrontcover

A Subtle Grace (O’Donovan Family Book 2)(Ellen Gable) A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

The Lion’s Heart (Dena Hunt)Front Cover Final revisedsm

Do you have any favorite TOB novels to add? Please feel free to comment below!

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Contest, NFP Awareness Week, Photo Shoot Etc.

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary where we share seven quick takes!

1. NFP Awareness Week
Next week is NFP Awareness Week! For more more information on Natural Family Planning (NFP), check out the Couple to Couple League’s site here. NFP Awareness Week

2. Sue Elvis’ New Book!
Please join me in congratulating my friend, Sue, from Australia, who has published a children’s book, The Angels of Abbey Creek! It’s not yet available here in the USA but it will be soon! Check out Sue’s blog for more information. Sue Elvis

3. Compelling Summer Read – Unholy Bonds
Unholy Bonds by Leslie Lynch follows newlyweds Lannis and Ben (From Lynch’s first novel, Hijacked) as they seek justice for Lannis. However, the story takes several interesting and surprising turns. The author creates a chilling villain, but this book is an excellent illustration that each person always has the choice to change. Unholy Bonds allows us to see into the mind of a unfeeling rapist, but Lynch also shows us that forgiveness can be a road to recovery, not only with the victim, but with the perpetrator as well. Highly recommend!UnholyBonds

4. Emily’s Hope – FREE BOOK – ENTER NOW
In honor of NFP Week, I’m giving away one free Kindle copy and one free print copy of my first book, Emily’s Hope, a Theology of the Body-themed novel based on parallel true stories. Leave a comment below before Thursday, July 24th, to be entered to win!!Emily's Hope

5. Photo Shoot at Madonna House
My husband and I recently visited one of my favorite places for a photo shoot. More about the reasons for the photo shoot in a future post!

copyright James Hrkach

copyright James Hrkach

6. Madonna House Sign
I’ve always thought this was a cool sign!

photo copyright James Hrkach

photo copyright James Hrkach

7. My Last Period (NFP Cartoon)

Copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Infant Loss Excerpt

Emily's HopeToday is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.

I have had four miscarriages and three ectopic pregnancies. My novel, Emily’s Hope, is the fictionalized true stories of myself and my great-grandmother, and the story of loss and triumph. 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 on to 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 so 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.

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.

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Amazing Results With the Holy Rosary

rosary-mary“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.”
St. Josemaria Escriva

Although I grew up in a Catholic family, I learned how to say the rosary at Catholic school. My father often said the rosary privately, but we never recited it as a family and I rarely said the rosary on my own before the age of 11. One evening, however, my parents were involved in a violent argument. It was my first experience at being “amazed at the results” of the powerful weapon of the holy rosary. The following is another excerpt from my novel, Emily’s Hope. It’s based on actual events and is a true illustration of Our Lady’s powerful intercession.

I listen as my parents are fighting again, fighting over bills they can’t pay. Each time my mom yells, my dad yells louder. Dad starts to throw things, not at Mom, just throwing things. I’m scared. It makes me feel anxious to see the two people I love most in the world screaming at each other. Don’t they love each other, I ask myself. Why won’t they stop yelling?

Dad just said something about moving out. Oh, God, please, I don’t want my dad to move out. Mom says good. Oh, please, Mom, don’t say that. I look at both of them but they don’t seem to see me or the panic in my eyes. They only glare at each other.

Dad goes upstairs. I run after him and watch as he gets a suitcase out and starts putting clothes in it.

God, why won’t you stop him? I pass by my bedroom and notice my rosary sitting on the bedside table. I grab it, sit down on my bed, and begin saying the rosary. As I say each Hail Mary, I plead with Our Lady, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Please, Our Lady, don’t let my Dad walk out.

As I’m saying another Hail Mary, Dad walks by my room and doesn’t notice that I’m even there. He stomps down the steps. I can’t hear if he says bye, but I hear the door slam shut.

“Oh, God, please, make him come back.” I continue saying the rosary, each Hail Mary becoming more fervent than the last. I pray until my heart is bursting. Please, God, listen to my prayer.

I begin saying the Hail Holy Queen prayer and suddenly, I hear the door open downstairs. Without finishing, I stand at the top of the stairs and I see that my dad is standing at the doorway. Mom walks over to him. At first, they’re silent.

Then, my dad starts to cry. “I can’t leave you. I can’t leave my family.” He and Mom embrace.

I begin to cry. Thank you, God, and thank you, Our Lady, for bringing my daddy back.

My parents remained married until my father’s death eight years later. He was buried with his rosary in his hands.

Emily’s Hope is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. The novel’s website includes reviews, an excerpt, a synopsis and a radio interview.

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach