A List of Inspiring Theology of the Body Fiction: #ShowUsYourList

showusyourlistlogoErin over at “Will Write For Tomato Pie” has a wonderful idea of having bloggers create alternate lists of entertaining books that are true, beautiful and good. Here is her challenge and mine as well!

“I challenge anyone who complained about 50 shades of anything to now spend some time and energy promoting entertainment that is true, beautiful and good.”

I posted about the “Antidote to #50Shades of Degradation: TOB Fiction: over at Amazing Catechists last week. Below is the list of Theology of the Body Fiction that I recommended and continue to recommend as “true, beautiful and good!” (Pardon the self-promotion of my own books and those of my publishing company!)

St. John Paul II said we can “overcome evil with good.” Here is a list of contemporary Catholic novels (in order of publication date) with Theology of the Body themes that can uplift, inspire and serve as an antidote to ALL the secular, trashy novels that promote illicit lifestyles. These novels encourage virtue rather than vice, respect rather than domination, and love rather than lust.

Emily’s Hope (Ellen Gable, 2005, FQ Publishing)

Passport (Christopher Blunt, 2008, Pelican Crossing Press)

Midnight Dancers (Regina Doman, 2008, Chesterton Press)

In Name Only (Ellen Gable, 2009, FQ Publishing)

Stealing Jenny (Ellen Gable, 2011, FQ Publishing)

Finding Grace (Laura Pearl, 2012, Bezalel Books)

Angela’s Song (AnnMarie Creedon, 2012, FQ Publishing)

Rapunzel Let Down (Regina Doman, 2013, Chesterton Press)

Vingede (Friar Tobe #2) (Krisi Keley, 2013, S & H Publishing)

Don’t You Forget About Me (Erin McCole Cupp, 2013, FQ Publishing)

A Subtle Grace (Ellen Gable, 2014, FQ Publishing)

The Lion’s Heart (Dena Hunt, 2014, FQ Publishing)

A World Such as Heaven Intended (Amanda Lauer, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Working Mother (Erin McCole Cupp, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Sunday Snippets – March 18

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets, where we share posts from the previous week.

This has been a slow blogging week since I was away.

Here are my posts:

The Stigma of Self-Publishing My latest post for the Catholic Writers Guild Blog.

Review of Pro Luce Habere (To Have Before the Light) Volume II by Krisi Keley.

Fiction Friday – Review of Pro Luce Habere

Pro Luce Habere tells the story of Valéry, the protagonist vampire from “On the Soul of A Vampire” and his life before he became a vampire and the 200 or so years following.

At the beginning of the novel, the year is 1212 and Valéry is a 14 year old on fire for God and his faith. He leaves home to join the Children’s Crusade only to end up in slavery at the hands of the people he sought to convert. Four years later, near death from a beating, his “maker,” Lukios, an ancient vampire, saves him from death but Valéry now must kill others to survive. At first, he refuses, but he eventually settles into a pattern of killing those who have hurt him or those he considers criminals.

In many respects, the life of a vampire as illustrated in this book is a lonely one, but Valéry eventually resigns himself to the life he’s destined to live, although he continues to hate himself for the monster he believes he is. (In Keley’s first book, On the Soul of a Vampire, Angelina tries to convince him that he is not the monster he thinks he is). In this book, another vampire shows him what evil vampires do (in that scene, the evil vampires torture a young girl for the sport of it and not because they need the nutrition).

I grew up watching old Dracula movies in which the vampire was always portrayed as the villain, so it’s easy to forget that Valéry is a vampire. However, he is no ordinary vampire. He’s a vampire with a conscience. He’s a vampire who is struggling with his faith in God (not unlike many mortal humans).

In one scene, he plans to kill a woman who has wronged him, then he realizes she is pregnant and leaves her alone (in my opinion, this is one of the best scenes of the book because it shows Valéry’s compassion).

Despite the fact that he is a vampire, it has become easier to love Valéry as a complex character who, like most human beings, has a conscience. And in the end, it begs the question: What is God’s plan of salvation for this vampire with a conscience? Is there any hope for him? Is there any hope for any of us, for that matter? Of course, the answer is there is always hope.

After reading this “prequel,” I have come to understand Valéry’s intricate character more deeply and why he chose to do what he did at the end of “On the Soul of a Vampire.” It also made me want to read Keley’s first book again (since I know the character better)….and it makes me impatient to read Part II of this book.

Beautiful language, Catholic themes, complex story, well-defined and believable characters make this a wonderfully intense read! Keley is an incredibly gifted author, one whose future books I look forward to reading.

I highly recommend this exquisite book to everyone!

To purchase on Amazon Kindle, click here.

To purchase a print edition on Amazon, click here.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

More Great Reviews for Stealing Jenny

Special thanks to Krisi Keley, Gerard Webster and Joan Kelly for these terrific reviews of Stealing Jenny! Here are some excerpts:

Krisi Keley, author: “Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable is a terrifyingly realistic suspense story that could be ripped from the headlines, but it’s also a beautiful life-affirming novel that offers so much more.

As is the case in all of her novels, in Stealing Jenny the author again excels at smoothly weaving the Catholic understanding of marriage and family – the sanctity of life and the precious gift of children and the sexual relationship – into a moving story of real people facing real world challenges and traumas. The characters of Jenny, her husband, Tom, and their children, as well as those of the unbalanced kidnapper, Denise, and the police officers who search for Jenny, are developed wonderfully. Through the family’s present suffering and glimpses of both the joys and sorrows Jenny and Tom have experienced throughout their relationship, the reader descends into this nightmare with them, but is also lifted up by the Callahan family’s faith and hope in God and by the strength He imparts in the very love which unites them.”

(To read Krisi’s full review, click here).

Gerard Webster, author: “Stealing Jenny has all the qualities of a keep-you-up-at-night thriller: high life-and-death stakes, three dimensional characters you care about, the clash of good vs. evil, and complications galore. I guarantee once you pick up this book it’s going to be a sleep-stealer. As a writer, Ellen Gable just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to read her next novel.”

(To read Gerard’s full review on Amazon, click here.)

Joan Kelly, author: “…the author introduces the reader to other members of the Callahan family; a family who finds strength to endure this trauma through their strong Catholic faith.Stealing Jenny is a well-written story that emphasized the preciousness of each life and the strength of family.

Stealing Jenny is available on Amazon in print or on Kindle.

On the Soul of a Vampire by Krisi Keley

Today’s Fiction Friday excerpt is from Krisi Keley’s novel, “On the Soul of a Vampire.” Read my review of this outstanding book here. A new second edition has just been released. Thank you, Krisi!

My raison d’être first presented itself outside an old library in University City, Philadelphia. Or so I might have recognized had I believed in such lofty ideas then. It was a humid early autumn evening of 1997 in Pennsylvania, a night where a casual stroll without objective was all I’d had in mind, when my attention was arrested by a group of girls, barely dressed in extremely short shorts and skimpy halter tops, who emerged from the building, giggling over their private, though I dare say not very profound, secrets. I was somewhat amused by their carefree good humor, their complete innocence to anything dark that may be watching and waiting this warm, starlit evening. Amused, but also slightly saddened, for it seemed to me that, in a number of ways, the youth of these past several decades lacked much in the way of imagination. This was not their fault, of course; the tendency to rewrite myth as harmless entertainment had begun years before their birth.

I watched the young women as they bounced down the stairs of the library, affected by little more than worries over their hair, their makeup, and which young man might notice their charms at that evening’s “kegger.” Perhaps then, the sadness was also due in part to my certainty they would never care to be affected by anything more. Most assuredly, they would not allow themselves to be touched by the darkness that had its hold on me.

My interest began to wane quickly, as I experienced no real desire for one of the group of them. Or rather, I suppose, because I would not satisfy such a desire had any inspired it. So I was on the point of turning away as they parted to go their separate ways at the bottom of the stairs, when into my view came the one who had descended, alone, a few steps behind them.

Dwindling mild enchantment was utterly obliterated in my sudden awareness of this young woman, and a hunger I hadn’t known to lay eyes on the most enticing of human beings froze me in place.

It would be easy to claim that it was her physical beauty alone that caused such a reaction, for surely it would have provoked similar in any man. Not to mention a host of other strong physical sensations. This young female, barely more than a child by modern standards, was exquisite in every aspect of physical allure and, although for me all mortals are beautiful in essence, sometimes the least agreeable to the eye, the most pleasing to the soul, I admit that her outer beauty held my attention every bit as much as the glorious lifeforce that enveloped her being.

The second edition of On the Soul of a Vampire is available via the book’s website http://www.onthesoulofavampire.com and on Amazon.com.

The publisher is giving away a free e-copy of this novel to one lucky reader. Leave a comment before Monday, June 20th to be entered.

“Powerful and Inspiring Historical Romance”

Special thanks to Krisi Keley, author of “On the Soul of A Vampire,” for the wonderful review of my second novel, In Name Only, which she also posted on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

In 1876, nineteen year old Caroline Martin journeys to Philadelphia to live with her uncle and cousin after the death of her beloved father, whom she has taken care of for many years. Uncomfortable in her new surroundings because of her own modest background, but welcomed by her wealthy uncle, she settles into her new life and is soon courted by her kind and upstanding neighbor, Liam O’Donovan, as well as frustrated by the presence of his vice-ridden, womanizing brother, David. Despite her concerns over Liam’s wealth and their differing views on some subjects because of it, Caroline finds happiness when she becomes Liam’s wife. But when a terrible tragedy strikes, she finds herself forced into having the relationship she never wanted with the troubled and troubling David.

In her second novel, author Ellen Gable has crafted another beautiful historical romance which examines difficult issues faced by people in every age. While her exceptional attention to historical detail allows the reader to feel immersed in the story’s post-Civil War era, the challenges the characters must deal with – lust, adultery, abortion, class and gender prejudice – all are still very real and relevant to a modern audience. Handled with amazing sensitivity, In Name Only is not simply a novel about one man’s redemption from the addictions that plague him, but a story about how love can change us all if we let it. Through the evolving relationship between Caroline and David, it shows not only how love makes us want to be a better person for the beloved, but also how love as an act of the will, rather than simply an emotion, can open us to the truest, most precious type of all – the kind that sees and sympathizes with the pain and struggle in others and allows us to recognize that these human weaknesses are not so different from our own.

Although this is an outstanding Catholic novel which celebrates the Christian ideals of charity, forgiveness, faith, redemption and the sanctity of life, I highly recommend it to anyone who cherishes a wonderfully well-written story featuring complex and superbly-developed characters, whose challenges are universal – above all the one that calls us to love another truly, not in spite of human frailty, but in it.

On the Soul of a Vampire by Krisi Keley

This is not a typical “vampire” book. It’s beautifully written and contains theological truths. The following is my review of this extraordinary novel on Catholic Fiction.net:

“Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon that which is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all.” This beautiful quote by G.K. Chesterton sets the tone for “On the Soul of a Vampire,” which begins in Philadelphia in 1997. Much of the novel is told in the first person: Valery, an 800-year-old vampire, sees the beautiful Angelina and is immediately enthralled to the point of obsession. He begins to “stalk” her but in vampire-like fashion, remains “in the shadows” at first. Valery eventually discovers that Angelina knows more about him than any other human.

A vampire’s lust is expressed through the desire to consume and feed off the blood of others. For most of the book, Valery is expressing his love for Angelina and, at the same time, trying to control his own desire to do to her what he knows he must not. Instead, he uses/kills others (and he rationalizes that most of his victims are not “innocent.”)

Although the writing is extraordinary, what I enjoyed most about this book were the theological truths: the truth of sacrificial love, good versus evil, free will, temptation, mercy, forgiveness. The ending is very powerful. This is not a light “happily ever after” read, but one which challenges the reader intellectually as well as spiritually.”

To read the review in its entirety:


Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Great Review for Emily’s Hope

Another wonderful review for Emily’s Hope, this one from Krisi Keley, author of the “On the Soul of A Vampire.” Here is a short excerpt:

“In Emily’s Hope, author Ellen Gable presents one of the most misunderstood, and sometimes even contentious, of Catholic teachings – the life-affirming and sacramental understanding of marriage and family that includes Natural Family Planning. Yet rather than simply “instruct” the reader on these teachings, she compassionately weaves the ideas into a touching story of two very real, everyday women, who, one hundred years apart, struggle with difficulties and suffer losses similar to what all human beings face in every era.”

To read the review in its entirety:


Thank you, Krisi!