Christmas Videos to Celebrate the Season – Enjoy!

The following are three Christmas videos from past years of my husband and some of our sons! Enjoy!

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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

If The Morning

Since the March for Life is being held today in Washington, I wanted to share the words of the pro-life song my husband wrote as a teenager. It’s called “If the Morning,” and these lyrics are also included in my novel, Emily’s Hope:

If in the morning the Savior didn’t rise
Would there be sunshine in your eyes
And in the springtime if the world wasn’t new
Would love still see its way through
And do we stand only to lose it all
By standing just a little too tall

Save the baby, save the baby
Because I know he’s got the right
I know he’s got that right
Save the baby, save the baby
Because I know He’s got it right
And I know that we have got it wrong

And if the dreamer never woke to tell his tale
Would hope be born still by our hands
And if the baby never sees the light of day
Will nightmares conquer all man
And do we stand only to lose it all
By standing just a little too tall.

Save the baby, save the baby
Because I know he’s got the right
I know he’s got that right
Save the baby, save the baby
Because I know He’s got it right
And I know that we have got it wrong.

And if the baby never saw the light of day, of day, of day…

Lyrics copyright 1978 James Hrkach
Photo copyright 2011 Josh Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 99

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers over at Jen’s Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Feast of St. Nicholas
Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!! Read more about St. Nicholas and traditions here.

2. Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
Sunday is the beautiful Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since it is a Sunday, however, the Mass on Monday, December 9th will celebrate that beautiful feast day.

3. Yo Vikings – Kanata Theatre
If you’re in the Ottawa Valley and would like to see a wonderful children’s musical during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, consider coming to see “Yo Vikings.” My husband, James, plays a viking and this song is entitled “The Prayer.” It was recorded earlier this week at one of their rehearsals. (James carved and made the instrument he uses in this number.) The website for tickets is also listed at the end of the clip.

4. Snow and Blue Lights

photo copyright James Hrkach

photo copyright James Hrkach

5. Mareritt by Krisi Keley (Mini Review)
Mareritt is the first book in a new “Friar Tobe” series by talented author Krisi Keley. Private investigator Tobias (“Friar Tobe”) Berger is a former novitiate of a religious order who is hired to investigate the unexplained coma of a high school girl and the frightening incidents and continuing close calls experienced by her three friends. Interspersed throughout the contemporary story is an old-fashioned fairy tale involving another “sleeping beauty.” Tobias is now a lay person living out his Catholic faith; he must set aside his growing attraction to one of the girls to focus on finding out why the incidents are continuing to happen and if they are connected. The characters are flesh and blood multi-dimensional and it’s easy to get to know them. Not surprisingly, my favorite character is the main protagonist, Tobias. He is likeable, though imperfect and entertaining at times I didn’t expect. Krisi Keley is one of the best contemporary (and, I believe, undiscovered) novelists today. Her rich language, complex story lines and well-defined characters make the reading of any of her books a compelling, enjoyable and entertaining read. This one is no exception. At only .99, the Kindle edition of this book is a “steal,” and I highly recommend it!!

6. Reading Shelf
Ceremony of Innocence – Dorothy Cummings McLean

7. Advent Cartoon

Image copyright Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Image copyright Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Vol. 50

7_quick_takes_sm1As usual, Conversion Diary is hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday. Check out some of the other Catholic bloggers’ posts!

1. Loreena McKennitt
The most exciting news from last week is that my husband and I attended the Loreena McKennitt concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (seventh row center) and we were fortunate to be able to get backstage passes to meet Loreena (thanks so much, Aynne and Carne). I’ve been a fan of hers for about eight years and I listen to her music while I’m writing. She is a wonderfully warm person and was kind enough to pose for a photo. You can read more about the concert here.Loreena

2. More Photos from Backstage at the NAC
Here are a few more photos backstage at the NAC; the first is a photo of Loreena’s dressing room:
IMG_0536
IMG_0548

3. Stealing Jenny Free
This Tuesday and Wednesday, December 11 and December 12, Stealing Jenny, my third novel, will be FREE on Kindle.

4. EWTN Bookmark Appearance
This past August while I was at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Dallas, Texas, I was interviewed (along with a group of other Catholic Writers Guild members) by Doug Keck for EWTN’s Bookmark. Some of these short interviews will air this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. You can watch via cable, live streaming on the internet or on satellite. Here’s the link: http://www.ewtn.com/bookmarkIMG_0366

5. Donkey Bells by Catherine Doherty
I recently posted a beautiful article by Catherine Doherty entitled “Donkey Bells.”

6. Blue Lights
This photo was taken last year after freezing rain turned our blue lights into blue icicles.

photo copyright James Hrkach

photo copyright James Hrkach

7. Carol of the Bells at ADHS (2009)
It’s Christmas time again, so I’d like to share this video of my husband and two of my sons performing “Christmas Eve at Sarajevo” or “Carol of the Bells” for the ADHS students and staff back in 2009.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Portraits

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

My Quick Takes Post today is an all photo quick takes:

Below are some of my favorite James Hrkach portraits (not in any particular order).

1. Ellie Feet Up (charcoal and Gesso on paper, 1987) I was pregnant at the time this painting was done, and not feeling like doing too much.

2. Ellie and Josh (oil on canvas, 1988) Sorry for the off kilter lighting of this one…this is me with our oldest son, Josh, then a year old.

3. Josh with Boots (oil on canvas, 1997) Again, our oldest son about ten years after the previous painting.

4. Marg (oil on canvas, 1987) James’ former art teacher.

5. Self-Portrait in Caramel (oil on canvas, 2011)

6. Self-Portrait and Light (oil on canvas, 2011)

7. Four Nine and a Half (oil on canvas, 1985). My husband sold this painting back in 1986 and I don’t have any photos with just the painting in it, (this is my husband and me along with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law back in 1986 attending the art show that exhibited this painting). This is my favorite of James’ paintings of me and it’s now hanging in someone’s big house somewhere near Port Dover, Ontario (sigh).

Most of these paintings were recently exhibited at the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery in Cornwall, Ontario.

Images Copyright 1985-2012 James Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – January 13

Join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Here are my Quick Takes:

1. Exciting news about two of my novels, which are currently in the top 10 of Amazon Kindle’s Religious Drama category! Wow!

In Name Only, my award-winning second novel, is now #2 and Stealing Jenny, my third novel, is #4!

In Name Only actually made it to #1 periodically yesterday! Double Wow!

2. I’ve been asked to talk by Skype to a group of mothers at a Catholic book club meeting in Missouri at the end of this month. In Name Only was their January book club selection. I know I’ve said it before, but I LOVE the 21st century!

3. Earlier this week, we were invited to dinner and my husband and I were able to try some homemade Moroccan food. I don’t normally eat prunes or beef, but this meal was delicious! You can find the recipe here.

4. There are now two published authors in our household! My husband’s academic paper was published through Common Ground Publishing.

5. Our online NFP class this past Monday night was a huge success! This is our 7th online course, but this class was unique because it was so large: seven couples (14 total people). Up until this point, we’ve been keeping our class sizes small (under 4 couples).

6. My short article entitled “Eternal Gifts” will be published in the new book by Karen Edmisten called After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope which will be released in February.

7. And, finally, since Jen at Conversion Diary just turned 35, she asked what we were doing at age 35. So what was I doing? I was writing my first published article called Five Little Souls in Heaven. This article is actually the long version of “Eternal Gifts,” from #6 above.

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

Photos and text copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach