7 Quick Takes Friday – Taking a Breather – Great Summer Reads!

7_quick_takes_sm1This has been a crazy week, so 7QT will be a reprint from last month!! I’m joining up with other bloggers at Conversion Diary.

I spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon at the Ottawa Train station as the “model” for a photo shoot. I’m not at liberty to say why, but I can say that the photographer was enthusiastic and proactive! (Thank you, Tim!) It was peculiar being the “subject” of the photo shoot, although I think the photographer got some unique shots! I haven’t had that many photos taken of me since I got married 32 years ago. The station manager was also very kind, accompanying us and keeping track of time (I gave her a copy of my newest book. Thank you, Karine!!)

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 Print Edition
The Lion’s Heart, FQP’s newest novel by Dena Hunt is currently available on Kindle and now available in softcover. 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 100,000 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 330 reviews on Amazon (and the six months it spent as a #1 bestseller on Kindle with over 200,000 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. 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 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.

7 Quick Takes Friday – FQP Edition (Huge Giveaway!!)

7_quick_takes_sm1 TGIF!!! Friday means I’m participating in 7 Quick Takes with other Catholic bloggers, but this week it’s over at Clan Donaldson. Head on over and take a look at the other posts!

Today is the Full Quiver Publishing edition, showcasing each of our books.

Last week, we released the Kindle edition of Erin McCole Cupp’s novel, Don’t You Forget About Me. With that release, Full Quiver now has seven titles under its logo. To celebrate, I’m giving away a FQP prize package worth over $100!!! (If you want to win ALL of the print editions of these books, read below and comment before November 1st!! Even if you already have some of these, they would all make great Christmas gifts!!) FQ logo square

1. Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon
Angela ‘Jel’ Cooke is a widow and mother of three who stays busy so as not to have to face the fact that her marriage was damaged and her husband, Devin, died before it could be repaired. Her good friends realize that no amount of home made lasagna, volunteering at church or late night games of Yahtzee can heal Angela from past regrets. When she meets Jack, the teacher of a class she is taking, he challenges her to face her demons. What follows is the poignant, yet often hilarious saga of how Angela overcomes her guilt and learns to love herself and others. Amazon Kindle Bestseller. Angela’s Song is available on Kindle or in Paperback.AS Front Cover Final9-19

2. Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship by Ellen Gable and Kathy Cassanto
This compilation contains 12 courtship/dating stories which will inspire, captivate and entertain readers. Some of the stories include: a widow with eight children meets a widower with six children; a man asks his live-in girlfriend “what if we stopped having sex,” and is greeted with tears of joy; an atheist falls in love with her Catholic Prince Charming; a woman prays to God for a husband and years later finds herself falling in love with a seminarian; a sailor prays a novena to marry the right girl. Come My Beloved is available on Kindle or in Paperback.Come-My-Beloved-jpg

3. Don’t You Forget About Me by Erin McCole Cupp
Mary Catherine Whelihan made it out of Walkerville alive once before. Can she pull it off this time?
Bullies, sexual harassment, finding a corpse in the local creek…. Cate’s childhood in 1980s Walkerville was murder! So what could possibly tempt her to return? A cryptic email from Eugene Marcasian, MD, her grade school crush, might do the trick. Can Cate and Gene find the cause of the mysterious illness afflicting nearly all of the girls in their graduating class, including Cate herself? Or will corporate bullies continue to take down anyone who gets in their way? More importantly, can Cate stay alive long enough to get one more slice of tomato pie? Don’t You Forget About Me is available on Kindle and is also available in paperback (although official release date is November 1st).Don't You Forget About Me FTcasefrontcover

4. Emily’s Hope by Ellen Gable
Emily’s Hope is the gripping story of one young woman’s physical, emotional, spiritual journey from high school to adulthood. Interspersed throughout the story are flashbacks to Emily’s great-grandmother’s troubled life, with a climax culminating in the surprising revelation that Emily and her great-grandmother are connected more deeply than by ancestral ties alone. Based on a true story. Emily’s Hope is available on Kindle and in Paperback.Emily's Hope

5. Growing Up in God’s Image by Carolyn Smith
Growing Up in God’s Image makes it easy for families to approach the topic of sexuality — mom to daughter, father to son, parent to child — especially for that first big talk on the facts of life. This book is about the beauty of growing up as a young woman or a young man. For teens, it provides positive answers through an understanding of sexuality as God intended from the moment He created it and when He later gave it to us as a sacrament through Jesus. For young and old couples alike, it gives a new appreciation of their own sacramental marriages. Growing Up In God’s Image is available on Kindle and in Paperback.Cover for FB

6. In Name Only by Ellen Gable
1896 Philadelphia: Caroline Martin’s life has finally taken a turn for the better. After years of hard work, she has met a virtuous and wealthy man whose love seems to promise the kind of life realized only within the comforting novels she keeps on her night table. Tragedy, however, will teach Caroline of the complexity with which God Himself authors the lives of those who turn towards Him. Gold Medal Winner in Religious Fiction, 2010 IPPY Awards. Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller Religious Drama, February, March 2012. In Name Only is available on Kindle and in paperback. In name only much smaller

7. Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable
Mentally unstable infertile woman kidnaps pregnant mother of six. Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller Religious Drama February 2012, June and July, 2012. Amazon Kindle Top 20 Bestseller since November, 2011 with over 200,000 downloads. Stealing Jenny is available on Kindle and in Paperback.

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This HUGE Giveaway is for ONE FREE PRINT COPY of each of these books (7 BOOKS IN TOTAL)!! To enter, answer the question below before Friday November 1st.

What is your favorite Full Quiver book? If you haven’t read any of these books, tell me which book you are most looking forward to reading!! Make sure you comment before Friday, November 1st!! Good luck!! (NORTH AMERICAN READERS ONLY…Sorry!!!)

7 Quick Takes Friday – September 28

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

Here are my Quick Takes:

1. In Name Only Review
Special thanks to Trisha Potter for this amazing review of In Name Only.
2. Growing Up in God’s Image
Growing Up in God’s Image: A New Approach to the Facts of Life talk has continued to sell well on Amazon. The Kindle version is now available.

3. Only Eight Days to the Release of Angela’s Song!
Angela’s Song, a Catholic novel by AnnMarie Creedon will soon be released by my publishing company, Full Quiver Publishing. Check out the novel’s website for more information.

4. Kayak Rides
I’m thoroughly enjoying a weekly kayak ride with my husband (who, as a newly retired person takes his boat out daily, weather permitting). Admittedly, I have to get in line because other members of the family want to accompany him as well. The weather remains warm and the scenery is breathtaking.

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

5. Waiting at the Window
This whole school bus thing is new to me, since in the past our high school attending children just drove to school with Dad. I dutifully wait at the window until they get on the bus. I figure if they have to wait, then I should wait with them.

Waiting for the school bus in front of our house…photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

6. More Books on My Reading/Review List

I Believe: The Creed and You by James Forsyth

The Road Home: A Journey of Faith by Joan Levy Earle

7. Many Hands Make Light Work – Cartoon

cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – September 21

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

It’s a dreary, cool, rainy Friday here in Ontario. I haven’t posted to my blog this week because I was working with four different deadlines.

Here are my Quick Takes for this week:

1. Growing Up in God’s Image Made it #3 This Week!
Growing Up in God’s Image:A New Approach to the Facts of Life Talk, my company’s newest book on how to talk to your kids about sex, reached #3 in all “Religious Education” print books this week and has been in the top ten in several categories on Kindle. I’m giving away one free print copy! To be entered, leave a comment below before September 28th! For more information, to read an excerpt and reviews, check out the book’s website.

2. Angela’s Song
Full Quiver’s upcoming release is called Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon. I’ve been working hard on the final edits and the manuscript is now at the printer. I’m also working on the Kindle edition and it should be ready in time for the October 7 release date. For more information, check out the novel’s website.

3. Interesting Article on Waiting Until Marriage to Have Sex
Waiting Till the Wedding Night: Getting Married the Right Way Excellent opinion piece by a news journalist regarding his decision to wait until marriage to have sex.
“Let me preface this column by saying this: my wife…and I not only waited sexually in every way (no, we didn’t pull the Bill Clinton and technically avoid “sex” sex,) but we didn’t shack up as live-ins and most importantly, we courted each other in a way that was consistent with our publicly professed values. We did it right…

4. Another Great Article on Pre-Marital Chasity
The Journey Towards Marriage- Relationships before marriage from the perspective of a newly engaged couple On September 8, 2012, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Imre of Habsburg-Lorraine married Miss Kathleen Walker at St. Mary’s Church in Washington, DC. This is an excellent article by the royal couple on marriage preparation and their decision to wait until marriage to have sex.
“We decided that the relationship we are building will one-day be sealed by the gift of our sexuality, a gift protected and nurtured by the knowledge that we have already made a final commitment in the freedom that comes from knowing that sexual intimacy takes place in a permanent, respectful and loving friendship. The limitation of sexual activities to marriage is thus not to be understood as interdiction, but rather as a positive option, in which two persons are able and willing to give themselves to each other, and even to sacrifice for the good of the other.”

5. Why Do Catholic Women Reject Their Own Church’s Teaching on Contraception?
Why Do Catholic Women Reject their Church’s Teachings on Contraception: Now We Know Excellent post from LifeSiteNews on why many Catholic women do not follow Church teaching on birth control and the importance of priests giving homilies about the Church’s teachings on sexuality.
“The latter can be deduced from the fact that 72 per cent of women surveyed said they rely mainly on the homily at Sunday Mass for learning about the faith, and yet just 15 per cent of that group fully accept the Church’s teaching on sex and reproduction. The weekly Mass homily, the authors say, “seems to represent a lost opportunity when it comes to conscience formation on the contraception issue.”

6. Books I’m Reading and Reviewing
I’ve got a huge pile of books waiting to be reviewed, but here are three I will be reviewing over the next few weeks:
Sarah Reinhard’s “A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism.” Look for my review on October 14 and I’ll be giving away not one, but TWO copies of this wonderful book.

Better by the Dozen Plus Two by James and Kathleen Littleton


Bread Upon the Water by Deanna Klingel

7. “Cease Fire”
I’d like to end today’s Quick Takes with one of our classic cartoons (2007):

Don’t forget! If you want to be entered to win a free print copy of Growing Up in God’s Image, leave a comment below!

Cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/ James and Ellen Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – August 3

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

1. First Professions in Nashville
My sister, who had been with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville for two years, discerned that she was being called to leave three weeks before First Profession of Vows. A week after she returned home, my sister asked if I’d still like to go to Nashville. After spending two years with these wonderful young women, my sister wanted to be with them when they made their first profession and received the black veil. I had also bonded with these beautiful sisters during my visits to the Motherhouse over the past two years so I said yes. (More on our trip in a future blog post). The Profession Mass was beautiful and moving.

The photo below is of my sister and Sr. Mary Angela, the novice mistress who (along with the rest of the novices) was delighted to see my sister again and told both of us that we were “like family” and they hoped we would visit frequently.

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

2. Parthenon
We were only in Nashville for 18 hours, but we did get to do a bit of sightseeing. Nashville has a really cool exact representation of the Parthenon (below).

photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

3. Sunshine Tea
We also enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of whole wheat blueberry pancakes, fruit oatmeal and Sunshine Tea at Fido’s in Nashville. Sunshine Tea, I soon found out, is a delectable fresh-brewed tea with a blend of mint, ginger and orange.

4. Soft PretzelsOne of my family’s favorite New Jersey treats are Philadelphia Soft Pretzels. We can’t get authentic soft pretzels up in Canada so we usually try to enjoy them here in NJ.

5. Centennial Exhibit
As most of my regular readers know, In Name Only, my second novel, includes an entire chapter at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Yesterday I had an opportunity to visit Memorial Hall (one of the few remaining buildings from the 1876 Exhibition). It’s now a children’s museum but the inside remains impressive. As well, there is an entire section on the ground floor devoted to the Centennial Exhibition complete with a full scale miniature of the complete exhibition grounds built in 1889 by John Baird. More on this exhibit in an upcoming blog post.

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

6. Angela’s Song
Full Quiver’s newest novel, Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon, is in its final editing stages and will be released on October 7. Angela’s Song is about Angela “Jel” Cooke, a widow. A short excerpt is below:

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I kissed Jack Bartolomucci, and then I slapped him.”

“You slapped him?” he asks, incredulous. Then alarm spreads across his face. Father lowers his voice. “He did something to you that warranted slapping?”

“No, he didn’t, really…well, sort of, at least I thought so last night but today I’m not so sure.”

Fr. Sean sighs and rubs his forehead. “I’m confused, Jel.”

“Okay. Everything he did and said led me to believe he was going to ask me out and I really got my hopes up. But then he told me that, although he wanted to ask me out, he couldn’t because I’m not ready.”

“And then you kissed him?”

I nod. “And then I slapped him.”

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

7. Growing Up in God’s Image
Growing Up in God’s Image is a book that helps parents talk to their kids about sex. It will be released on September 8, 2012.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Growing Up In God’s Image – Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Full Quiver’s upcoming publication on how to talk to your kids about sex, “Growing Up in God’s Image,” by Carolyn Smith. This is the author’s introduction at the beginning:

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”(1 Corinthians 12:7)

It’s been many years since that first talk with my oldest daughter about the facts of life, but I remember it very well. Like most moms, I was a bit nervous and consternated over what to say. Actually, I remember resenting that I had to talk with her so soon. I felt pressured because many of the children at school were already “knowledgeable.” Hearing something from a classmate was the last thing I wanted to happen. I didn’t want her to hear about “sex.” I wanted her to hear about the beauty of God’s gift of love. I was getting ready to tell her about a very special and holy love, the love that existed between her father and me. My husband, Jim, is truly God’s gift to me. So I went to the Source of the gift and asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to say to her?”

I felt certain God wanted me to start at the beginning with Him. After all, He is Love itself. All love, especially this love, comes from Him. God created us to love Him and to love each other; therefore we should talk about His creation of Adam and Eve and His plan for marriage from the very beginning. What we have today is nothing new. It has existed since the beginning of time. And, in the One that we image, it has always existed! Thus, this theme became the beginning of the “facts of life” talk.

The second theme came to me many years later while away with my husband for a weekend. The gift came during Mass between the consecration and the communion. After Mass, I couldn’t wait to tell Jim! It left me absolutely in awe that God has given to married people a love that resembles His own in the Eucharist!

I was then able to share this with my fifth daughter, (and the sixth, seventh, and eighth) when I talked to her about the “facts of life.” Her reaction was everything a mom could hope for. She looked up at me and said in wonder, “Wow, THAT is really neat!”

The third theme talks about marriage as a sacrament. What God intended from the very beginning of creation was elevated to a new level of sanctity by His Son. God is intimately present to every couple through the sacrament. He is the very Center of their life and love.

Advanced Review Copies available upon request. Email me: info(at)fullquiverpublishing.com

Copyright 2012 Carolyn J. Smith and Full Quiver Publishing

7 Quick Takes Friday – Writing News

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

1. I’m nearly finished writing the first draft of “A Subtle Grace,” which is the sequel to In Name Only, my second novel. I love writing historical fiction because I enjoy researching history. This particular book, however, has been a difficult one to write because I’m dealing with many challenging issues: attempted rape, stalking, accidental death etc. When I’m finished the first draft, I will upload the cover photo and possibly an excerpt. A Subtle Grace is scheduled to be released sometime in 2013.

2. Two of my novels, Stealing Jenny and In Name Only continue to be in the top five of Amazon’s Religious and Liturgical Drama category. In Name Only has been in the #1 position since January. Stealing Jenny has been in the top five since January (reaching #1 and occasionally bumping In Name Only out of the #1 spot).

3. We are close to releasing Full Quiver’s newest book, Growing Up in God’s Image, which is a book on how to talk to your kids about sex. Author Patti Armstrong recently sent this wonderful review: This book guides parents to gradually expand a child’s understanding of life beginning with how the love of family reflects the love of God. Teaching the facts of life fully demands including the spiritual. Carolyn does a beautiful job explaining the physical changes that occur during puberty while including the responsibility to be true to God’s plan and purpose for our bodies. The life lessons are presented in clear language and will enrich not just the children, but the parents also reading this book as an aid. Thanks, Patti!

4. Last week’s 7 Quick Takes prompted more comments than I’ve ever had on this blog! Thanks to everyone for the wonderful anniversary wishes! We had a great anniversary and, to celebrate, I posted a short retrospective video on Facebook.

5. Disappointment… Two months ago, a writer from a major Catholic magazine contacted me and asked for a copy of Stealing Jenny for an article she was writing on Catholic fiction. She explained that she was reading many Catholic novels and she would let me know whether my novel would be mentioned. A week or so later, she emailed me to tell me that Stealing Jenny would indeed be one of the nine novels featured in her article and she asked for a cover photo to accompany the article. This magazine has a somewhat varying (and large) target audience so I was elated that Stealing Jenny might find some new readers. Imagine my surprise a few days ago when this writer posted a message on one of my Facebook groups listing the eight other writers whose novels would be mentioned in the article. Thinking it was an oversight, I emailed her and asked her why my book wasn’t included. She responded by saying that mention of my book must have been “cut for space requirements.” While I’m very disappointed, I do understand that, given that the majority of the authors included were female…and given that there were two other suspense novels (written by male authors) mentioned, my book was probably the logical one to be cut.

6. I’ve also ventured into the business of editing. I’ve now edited five manuscripts (working on two more as we speak) and I am thoroughly enjoying this facet of the publishing/writing world! I’m only able to take on one or two manuscripts per month, but if you’re interested, email me info(at)fullquiverpublishing.com and I’ll let you know my availability.

7. Planning to self-publish? Want someone to help guide you through the maze of self-publishing? I’m now also a book coach/self-publishing consultant. For more information, feel free to email me info(at)fullquiverpublishing.com for more information and rates.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen’s Conversion Diary.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach