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)

7 Quick Takes Friday – New Book, New Reviews & Downton Abbey!!

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Early Feedback for A Subtle Grace
One beta reader said that it was a “tremendous sequel.” Another reader said that it is “your very best work. I absolutely loved it! I particularly enjoyed how you wove a pro-life message throughout the book without being preachy. And it was so easy to read! It just flowed. Wonderful!” A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. New 5 Star Reviews on Amazon.com for Stealing Jenny
I’m very grateful for the most recent reviews of Stealing Jenny on Amazon. Of the last ten, nine have been five stars and one, four stars. From Claire: “This book held my attention from beginning to the end. I read it in one day even through the president’s state of the union message. It was well written, fast moving, and really believable.”
From Meredith: “Being a mother, I totally relate to this. Some might write this off as a Catholic lack of reality story. Not me. I’m not Catholic, more pro-choice with a personal feeling of pro-life. It’s a real MUST READ kind of book, and this comes from my heart. But the reader has to dig deeper and realize the emotional depth that Ellen has brought to us.”

3. Downton Abbey Season Four (Spoiler Alert)DA-405-Bates-Anna300x231I’ve so enjoyed this Masterpiece Theatre/PBS British show for the past few years. My favorite couple is Anna and Bates. She’s usually so joyful and such a good person deep down and her husband, who is many years older, is a sweet and gentle man. I wasn’t convinced that their romance was the right thing for either of them during the first season when they began their courtship, but now it seems so natural for them to be together. This season has been difficult for them. Anna has been raped and until last week’s episode has been able to keep it secret from her husband because she’s afraid he will kill the man who did it. During last week’s episode, he overhears her speaking to Mrs. Hughes and finds out Anna’s secret.

Anna: “Well, it’s in the open. No more secrets. I’m glad of that at least. No more fear of being found out, because I am found out. My shame has nowhere to hide.”
Bates: “Why do you talk of shame? I don’t accept that there is any shame in this.”
Anna: “But I’m spoiled for you! And I can never be unspoiled.”
Bates: “You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me, and holier because of the suffering you have been put through. You are my wife, and I have never been prouder, nor loved you more than I do now at this moment.”
Anna: “Truly?”
Bates: “Truly.”

I know these are actors, but when you have brilliant writing, outstanding acting and excellent direction, well, these actors ARE Anna and Bates. We’ll see what happens next week and whether he will find out who assaulted his wife. But after last season (when Bates was finally vindicated and released from prison), no one wants to see him in prison again or — worse — hanged for killing a man, even if it was the man who raped his wife.)

4. Picture Perfect yellow shirtsIt’s hard to believe, but this was only my second published article. It was written in 2002 and appeared in Family Foundations, Spring 2003 issue: I tried to take a mental snapshot of the previous 10 minutes or so. Everyone had come to the table for dinner without being asked twice. The food was piping hot. All five children were sitting and quietly waiting for grace to begin. A soft snow had started falling outside, the woodstove was crackling, cookies were baking in the oven and the Christmas tree, which smelled fresh and green, sparkled with the twinkling lights. It all seemed so perfect, like a painting by Norman Rockwell or a scene from “Ozzie and Harriet.” For just a minute, I had wished that, like in the “Twilight Zone,” life would stop so I could savor the moment. I knew, however, that the scene wouldn’t last like that for long.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

5.Stealing Jenny: Featured Book on Freebooksy!
This past week, my book, Stealing Jenny, was featured on Freebooksy!Freebooksy

6. Reading Shelf
2012 Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction

7. Cease Fire Cartoon

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Free Books, Cool Recipes!

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Leave a comment below (before Friday, January 31st) to win a free print copy of Stealing Jenny, my third novel! Speaking of novels, A Subtle Grace, is nearly ready for the proofreaders! I’m waiting for one more beta reader to send her comments, then it’s off to the printer and to the proofreaders!!

Monday, January 27 to Wednesday, January 29, my third novel,Stealing Jenny, will be FREE on Kindle! To download the book for free Monday to Wednesday next week, click this link. (Please note: It won’t be free until Monday!!)

And if you don’t have a Kindle and want a PRINT copy, leave a comment below (before January 31st) to win a paperback copy of Stealing Jenny! (Sorry…North America ONLY, please!!)

2. Stealing Jenny on Amazon Japan
I think it’s so cool that my books are available all over the world. Here’s a screenshot of the profile page of Stealing Jenny on Amazon Japan. If you click on the picture, it will take you right to the actual Amazon Japan page. Stealing Jenny Japan

3. Brrrr!! It’s Cold!!
Temps have been averaging minus 30 C. with the windchill. I’m ready for spring.Thermometer in winter

4. Scrumptious Chicken Lemon Soup!
It’s been so cold this past week that all I want to do is snuggle up in a warm chair in front of the wood stove and drink tea or eat soup. This is a scrumptious chicken-lemon soup recipe.

5. Banana Almond Bread
Oooh, this looks like a great recipe for tasty banana bread! I haven’t tried it yet, but I will this weekend, as soon as I can find almond flour. This is gluten free and, I’m told, super delicious and healthy! http://www.beautifullynutty.com/banana-almond-bread-gluten-free/

6. Reading Shelf
An Unmarked Grave – Charles Todd
The Watson Chronicles – Ann Margaret Lewis

7. Man Up Cartoon

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach (all rights reserved, do not use without permission)

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach (all rights reserved, do not use without permission)

Don’t forget to leave a comment (before January 31st) to win a free print copy of Stealing Jenny!

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 54

7_quick_takes_sm1It’s Friday and time to join up with other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Prayer Requests
Please continue to keep Jen from Conversion Diary in your prayers. Also, I’d like to ask readers to pray for fellow CatholicMom contributor, Cassandra Poppe’s son, Fulton. He was severely burned in an accident. Prayers and donations are needed. Here’s the website: http://www.giveforward.com/PrayForFulton

2. Stealing Jenny Reaches 100 Reviews!
My novel, Stealing Jenny, just received its 100th review on Amazon with a 4.3 average ranking! Woo hoo! It was #1 for most of the month of December, has been in the top three for the past week, and in the top ten for the past 18 months.

3. Ellen Gable Author Facebook page
Please consider “liking” my author page. You can either click the link or click the link at the side bar to the right and just below the Stealing Jenny cover photo. There will be weekly free giveaways listed over the next few months and news about upcoming books.

4. Bring Him Home
With the recent release of Les Miserables, I decided to post a video on Facebook of my husband’s moving rendition of “Bring Him Home” (which was recorded nearly four years ago at my surprise 50th birthday concert). Please feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. You need not have a Facebook account to watch the video, although if you want to comment or “like” the video, you’ll need to have a Facebook account.

One of the reasons I wanted to post this video is because “Bring Him Home” is my favorite song of Les Mis. On the whole, I enjoyed Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Jean Valjean very much, although I was disappointed with his “live” rendition of this particular song.

5. A Subtle Grace
I’ve been busy editing and trying to finish my latest work in progress, A Subtle Grace, the sequel to In Name Only which continues the saga of the O’Donovan Family. I’m specifically writing this book so that it can be read independent of the other, although reading both will give a more complete experience.

A Subtle Grace takes place in 1896 in Philadelphia. Each week during 7 Quick Takes Friday, I’d like to introduce one character from the book. This week: Kathleen O’Donovan, main female protagonist, is the oldest daughter of Caroline (main female protagonist of In Name Only) and her late husband, Liam O’Donovan. At the beginning of the story, Kathleen is 19 years of age and present with her mother as the older woman gives birth to another baby. Kathleen is the oldest of six children (soon-to-be seven children). She is naive, carefree and innocent although an unforeseen circumstance causes her to question everything she has believed about herself and her family.

6. Reading List
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt

7. Cartoon – Skydiving

image copyright FQP - James/Ellen Hrkach

image copyright FQP – James/Ellen Hrkach

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Special Cyber Monday Offers

Full Quiver Publishing is offering three deals for Cyber Monday (this Monday, November 28):


Offer #1 Stealing Jenny print edition is available for 6.50 and shipping is free! Usual price is 12.99 plus shipping so that’s less than half-price! Email us at
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com with your address to receive your free book. LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY.

Offer #2 Stealing Jenny Kindle edition is FREE on Monday, November 28th. To receive your free Kindle book, just send your email address to info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Offer #3 Buy Stealing Jenny either print or Kindle and receive a FREE PRINT copy of Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. To receive your free book ($13.00 value),
send your Amazon order confirmation email to
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Fiction Friday – Stealing Jenny Web Page

My soon-to-be released novel, Stealing Jenny, now has a web page!


I’ll be posting reviews as they come in.

Here is another short excerpt:

“Mom, we’re home!” Christine’s voice woke Jenny. She opened her eyes and sat upright as all four girls came into the living room. “How come you didn’t meet us at the bus stop? I was scared when I didn’t see you. I saw a lady looking strangely at us from the house across the street from the bus stop. She really creeped me out. I think I saw her following us home too.” Her oldest daughter was scowling and leaning over her. Chris was the only Callahan child who hadn’t inherited some form of Tom’s red hair. With her long brown hair, she reminded Jenny of herself at that age.
“Honey, I’m sorry. I fell asleep. Thanks for walking the girls home. A lady looking strangely at you?”
Her daughter nodded.
Jenny took a deep breath, then exhaled. Chris was a worrier and a little on the paranoid side.
“You know, people are allowed to look out their windows and walk on the street.”
“Yeah, well, she looked kinda familiar.”
“Yeah, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen her before.”
“Well, if she lives near the bus stop, you may have seen her in the neighborhood.”
“I don’t think so.” Chris pulled a paper out of her backpack. “Hey, I got 100 on my spelling test.” She held it in front of Jenny’s face.
“That’s fantastic, Chris.”
“Hi, girls,” Jenny called to her twin daughters.
“Hi Mommy,” said Callie and Cassie, in unison.
“Mom, look at my drawing,” Chloe, her six year old, said, as she pushed it in Jenny’s face.
“That’s beautiful, honey.”
* * *
“Jen, sit down. I’ll wash the dishes tonight. You’re supposed to be off your feet.” Jenny’s husband, Tom, was already piling dishes into the dishwasher.
“I know, but you cooked supper too. And the doctor said I could do simple tasks like the dishes and walking the girls to the bus stop.”
“You should be taking it easy. Sit down and talk to me while I do the dishes.” He was gently lowering her to the chair. He flipped the dish towel over his shoulder and washed a pot while whistling the tune from Gilligan’s Island. He wore her apron with the fading letters of “Mom’s Apron: Please Wipe Nose Below Line” with a red line low on the garment. A small darkish stain had taken up residence below the line last summer when she had made blackberry jam. Jenny cringed when she recalled the last time her mother-in-law came for dinner. Doris kept staring at the line and the stain, wondering if Jenny really allowed her kids to wipe their noses on her apron.
Tom glanced at her and winked.
“You look adorable in that apron,” Jenny teased.
“Don’t I know it.”

Stealing Jenny will be released on September 15th.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing

Fiction Friday – Stealing Jenny Chapter One

Here is another excerpt from my soon-to-be-released contemporary pro-life thriller, Stealing Jenny. To read the prologue, go here.

One month later

Jenny knelt in front of the toilet, her protruding stomach pressed against the porcelain bowl. Her toddler stared quizzically at her.

“Momma ‘kay?” Caleb asked.

“Uh-huh. I’m just. . .” She emptied the contents of her stomach, straightened then exhaled.

“Yuck.” Caleb leaned in, but kept a safe distance away.

She didn’t particularly like the nausea, but welcomed it because her doctor said that it meant that Little Buddy was still safe in her womb.

Motherhood and pregnancy already had their usual challenges, especially with five small children. But when she first held her daughter, Christine, in her arms, she realized that this was her purpose in life: to be a mom.

The forced bed rest for most of the past month had been difficult, to say the least. Thankfully, a week ago, the doctor gave her permission to do simple housework and pick up the kids from the bus stop, but advised her to remain off her feet most of the time.

She reached for the hand towel on the counter and wiped her mouth.

“Don’t like that.” Caleb’s small hand patted her head. “Kay, Mom?”

“Yes, I’m okay.” She pushed herself up and stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Some pregnant women glowed, but pregnancy usually brought out the worst in her, from the oily hair to the slight acne to the constant green tinge. At least her maternity shirt was bright and pretty with blue and white flowers.

“Come on, Caleb.” She took hold of her son’s hand and led him into the kitchen for a snack, then noticed that he hadn’t finished his grilled cheese sandwich. Now that her stomach was empty, the half-eaten lunch looked appetizing. She ate a couple bites, felt queasy again, then decided against finishing it.

She got a box of crackers from the cupboard and gave a handful to Caleb, who shoved them in his mouth.

Dirty dishes were stacked on the counter. She knew she ought to wash them, but at this time of the day, her body cried out for rest more than anything else. Besides, the doctor advised her to stay off her feet as much as possible.

She leaned against the sliding doors and stared at the spacious back yard. It was a beautiful, summer-like day and Jenny breathed in the fresh air. One of the neat things about pregnancy was the heightened sense of smell, although that could also be a disadvantage, depending on the scent.

Behind her, Bootsie barked to go outside. Jenny slid open the patio door and the beagle scampered away.

She took her son’s hand, sat him in front of the television and turned on a Blues Clues DVD.

Jenny lowered herself onto the sofa, her heavy pregnant body sinking into the cushions. Immediately, the dog began to whine and scratch at the back door. She sighed, pushed herself up and trudged across the living room and kitchen to open the sliding glass doors. The dog ran inside.

The clock on the wall chimed that it was quarter to three. In half an hour, the girls would be arriving at the bus stop. The new school year had been in session for the past week. Jenny had been hoping that this year she could persuade Chris to walk her sisters home the one and a half blocks. Unfortunately, Chris had a fear of walking alone since she heard her classmates talking about a girl who was abducted in Toronto. She tried to reassure her daughter that that sort of thing didn’t happen in their small community, but Christine wouldn’t hear any of it.

Next week: Excerpt from Chapter Two

Stealing Jenny will be available on September 15, 2011

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing