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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Guest Post: REDEEMING CHRISTMAS by Carol James

My guest today is Carol James, an author of inspirational fiction who enjoys creating Redemptive Romance. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell "Terrorist," Zoe. Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she'd been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction. Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been an Amazon number one best-seller. Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.  

REDEEMING CHRISTMAS is Carol's latest release! Here's the blurb:

     Novelist Olivia St. Madeleine is intrigued by a handsome and mysterious stranger she sees when she's Christmas shopping. Who exactly is he, and what is his story?

     Gabriel Winter definitely has a story. One he's been running from for years. He's renovating a house next door to a friendly and persuasive grandmother, who is, unbeknownst to him, Olivia's Nana.

    Through Nana's insistence, Liv helps Gabe wallpaper and paint, and in return Gabe fulfills one of Liv's secret childhood dreams. But past hurts and secrets threaten to drive them apart rather than draw them together.

     Will they find the courage to share their secrets with each other and with God, and allow Him to redeem Christmas?


Now for a special treat! A nice long excerpt from the book. Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and settle down with a cozy blanket. Stay warm and enjoy. ☺



            Liv picked up the Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum Peppermint lotion from the seasonal display. Turning the bottle over, she pretended to read the back label, but she focused her attention on the male customer in the center of the store. 

            The salesgirl stuck to him like a piece of chewing gum on the sole of a shoe in summer. Gooey and annoying. 

            Liv couldnt blame her, though. He was tall with dark brown hair, meticulously combed back from his forehead. His olive skin enhanced his cleft chin. He wore a charcoal gray wool suit with a white shirt, a red and navy striped tie, and black wingtip shoes. Maybe he was an attorney. 

            Common sense told Liv to make her purchase and leave. Intrigue argued she should browse and gather more information. As “Jingle Bells” played over the speaker system, she ignored common sense and crept closer to observe. 

            His brown eyes studied every move the clerk made, as if he were considering her as possible dating material. But that made no sense. Esscential Scents was a womens store. Why would he be sizing up one woman while he was shopping for another? 

            Because he wasnt shopping. A policeman. Maybe he was an undercover cop posing as an attorney, trying to sneak some information out of the salesgirl. No, that couldnt be right, either. So far, the sales clerk had done all the talking. But then again, the best investigators were good listeners. 

            Miss Bubblegum rested a hand on his forearm while she gestured toward the mountainous display of home and body products in the center of the store. “And this is our most popular fragrance, Scent-uous. A wonderful choice to pamper that special lady in your life.” 

            The man slowly stepped away and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, I—” 

            The salesgirl turned and gestured toward the right-hand wall. “Or what about these? Air and Sun. Part of our new Earth Esscentials, all-natural collection. Very popular among the professional crowd.” 

            His gaze focused on the clerk. In silence, he nodded. 

            Liv recognized the look of panic in the girls eyes. When she was in college, shed worked on commission in a clothing store. The clerk knew she was losing the sale. But what she didnt know was that she wasnt losing anything. Because it wasnt a real sale. 

            The girl turned toward the other side of the store. “Or how about…” 

            Or a secret agent. Maybe he was a secret agent whod ducked into the store to avoid the men who were following him, and he had no intention of buying anything. He was simply hiding. Liv glanced back over her shoulder. No fishy characters lurked outside the store entrance. But of course, professional spies looked just like a next-door neighbor. Nothing suspicious about them.

            James Bond spoke, minus the British accent, “Hey, thanks for your help, but I think Id just like to browse a little…if thats OK.” 

            “Oh, sure. Of course. Enjoy looking around. Im Candy, if you need anything.” 

            And who would she be if he didnt need anything? 

            “Thanks, Candy. I appreciate your time.” 

            As the chime signaled the arrival of a new customer, a new male customer, Candy dropped 007 like a sun-scorched rock and scooted across the store toward the entry. 

            The spy wandered through the tables toward the display framed by evergreen garland and white twinkling lights on the left wall. His jacket was cut full enough to hide his shoulder holster. He slid his hands into his pants pockets as he pretended to study the lotions and perfumes stacked to the ceiling. 

            This was her chance. Liv strolled up beside him. “Overwhelming, isnt it?” 

            He turned toward her. His brow wrinkled in surprise, and then a smile lit his face. "Sure is. Must be over a hundred different choices.” 

            Curiosity fluttered her stomach. Shed get to the bottom of this. “So, are you shopping for anyone in particular?” 

            “A friend.” 

            “I see. A good friend?” 

            He pursed his lips and looked far away as he constructed his cover story. He leaned his head to the side. “Not yet. But Im working on it.” 

            A vague response. 

            She nodded. “Age?” 

            “Mine?” He raised his eyebrows and grinned. 

            Trying to distract her with humor. A good ploy. “No, your lady friend.” 

            “Whoa, there. Ive learned never to try and guess a ladys age.” 

            Slick. “I can suggest some general scents that would be popular with most women, but if you could give me a ballpark age, I can point you toward some that might be more appropriate.” She picked up a bottle of shower gel from the display in front of them. “For instance, this Cotton Candy scent would not go over well with a mature woman.” 

            As he removed his hands from his pockets, his brown eyes sparkled. “Youre right. OK. Seventy. Ish.” 

            “Seventy? Ish? Really?” 

            He nodded. 

            “Then this”—she returned the Cotton Candy gel to the display—“would be completely wrong. What you want is a classic scent.” She led him across the showroom to the back corner. Liv gestured toward the left side of the display like a gameshow hostess. “Lavender. In fact, thats why I came into the store. To buy some as a Christmas gift for my grandmother.” She grasped the tester and spritzed some of the perfume onto a card. Then she waved it through the air for him to smell. “My nana loves it.” 

            He smiled. “Soft and old-fashioned. Classic.” 

            “This next one, Texas Rose, is my nanas second favorite.” 

            He followed her farther back, “Do you work here?” 

            “Me? No. Im just a customer.” 

            “Well, maybe you should,” he muttered. 

            Whether he intended her to hear it or not, she caught his barely audible response. Shed pretend she hadnt heard him to give him a chance to elaborate. “Pardon?” 

            “Sorry. Just thinking out loud. Thanks so much. Youve been very helpful, and I dont want to keep you from your shopping.” 

            She was dismissed. Shed failed in her mission. “Youre welcome. Enjoy.” She grasped a floral travel bag filled with an array of Luscious Lavender products and headed toward the register. Once she paid, her Christmas shopping would be completed. 


            Liv perched on the wrought-iron cafe chair outside the mall coffee shop and sipped her peppermint mocha. Her journal lay open on the table before her. This had been the last available spot, but she couldnt have chosen a better one. Its placement was perfect for people-watching. A sea of mankind surged up and down the mall corridors. She loved shopping this time of year. Trips to the mall offered plenty of material for work. 

            A young father, most likely, with two preschool children nibbling on cookies sat a few tables over. Hed probably picked them up from daycare and brought them here to shop for a surprise Christmas gift for their mother. The cookies were bribery to ensure their silence. 

            Or perhaps he was a widower. This was the first Christmas after his wife had died. He was fighting to overcome past memories and make this season joyous for his children. But it was hard. Painful. How could he hold everything together? Livs eyes burned as tears threatened. The little girl had her mothers blonde hair and blue— 

            “Hello, again.” 

            Liv jumped at the greeting. Shed been so lost in thought that she hadnt noticed the attorney-cop-spy now standing beside her table. He held a paper cup from the coffee shop in one hand and a large shopping bag from Esscential Scents in the other. 

            “Hi. Well, looks like you found something.” 

            “I did. Thanks to you and your guidance.” He scanned the seating area. 

            She looked again too. Still no empty tables. A captive audience could produce an abundance of information. "Please, wont you have a seat?” 


            As he sat and placed his package on the concrete floor beside his chair, his suit coat fluttered open. No shoulder holster after all. His gun must be jammed in his waistband behind his back or in an ankle holster. 

            "Im Gabe.” 

            She grasped his offered hand—his smooth, well-manicured offered hand. Secret agenting must pay well. ”Liv. Nice to meet you.” She nodded toward his shopping bag. “So what did you decide on?” 

            “I went with the lavender.” 

            “Good choice.” 

            His gaze rested on her open journal. “Looks like you might be in the middle of something.” 

            “People-watching. The journals in case I observe something I need to record.” 

            As he sipped his coffee, his chocolate eyes sparkled. “Private detective?” He grinned. 

            She returned his smile. “Writer.” 

            “Really? Have anything published?” 

            “A few novels.” 

            “Anything I might have heard of?” 

            “I doubt it. No offense, but youre not exactly my target audience. I write romance.” 

            “Oh, so I get it. Men arent romantic.”                       

            “My heroes are very romantic.” 

            “But not real men.” 

            “Lets just say romance is not the genre of choice for most real’ men. Action, sci-fi, mystery. Stuff like that. But a smart man could learn an awful lot about women by reading a romance novel or two.” 

            “Ill keep that in mind.” He nodded. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and glanced at the display. “Duty calls.” 

            Definitely an undercover cop. 

            He inserted his hand into his inner jacket pocket and extracted a business card. He held it out to her. “In case you ever want to change careers and go into sales, my companys always looking for good people. From what I saw earlier, youd be quite a success.” 

            She studied his card. Gabriel Winter, CEO, Sales Solutions, Placing people in perfect places. “Your busy season, huh?” 

            “Not really. The last thing my customers want to see this time of year is some sales rep coming in to take them away from their buying customers.” 

            She winked. “I meant your name.” 

            “Oh. That.” Smile lines radiated from his eyes. “Most people dont even catch it, but of course you would. Your lifes all about words.” He stood. “Would you happen to have one of your cards on you?” 

            She reached into the side pocket of her purse, withdrew a business card, and offered it to him. 

            He studied the rose and gray rectangle. “Olivia St. Madeleine, Novelist, Creating Beauty from Ashes.” As he raised his eyebrows, his gaze met hers. “You were destined to be a romance writer from birth. Your parents chose the perfect name.” 

            “Actually, my agent did. My real names Olivia Slootsky. Dont get me wrong. Its a fine name, but I ask you, whos going to believe a person with that last name writes romances?” 

            He chuckled. “Well, Olivia St. Madeleine Slootsky, thanks again. Running into you has been the best part of my day. Have a happy holiday.” 

            As he turned and walked toward the exit door, she reached for her journal and her pen. His mahogany eyes blazed with merriment. The warmth of his smile sent delicious shivers down her spine

You can find REDEEMING CHRISTMAS at the buy links below:





Apple Books:

Google Books:

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Amazing Grace

     I've always loved hymns. The lyrics seem to be embedded in my soul. I find the songs to be comforting in trying times. Often, when trouble comes I'll sing the words of a hymn. Praying is good but there's an old saying, attributed to St. Augustine, that he who sings prays twice. I believe it. I've tested the theory and found it effective--at least for me.

     One of my favorite hymns is “Amazing Grace.” I know all the words. I've used it as a running theme in two of my books, Patriot's Courage and A Rush of Light. The hymn was written in 1772 by John Newton, a man who lost his mother at an early age and became a sailor at the age of 11. Eventually, he converted and became an Anglican minister. You can find that story HERE.

     When I first started working, I bought a Chevy Nova. I was so delighted to own a car and have the freedom to go places. One evening, the college where I earned my degree was having a show. That was in Jersey City, more than thirty miles away. One of my high school friends still lived nearby and I asked her if she would like to go with me. She was willing.  

     The trip went fine until I pulled off the Turnpike and started to weave my way through the local streets of Jersey City, my car sputtered and carried on as if it was going to die. I had no idea what was wrong with it. I did not have AAA, and back in those days, cellphones had not been invented. So, I started to sing “Amazing Grace,” which annoyed my friend but I did not want to get stuck in an unfamiliar part of Jersey City--at night. 

     The car continue to move—haltingly. My grandfather lived a block away from the college, so that's where I went. I explained the situation to him and decided to leave the car there for the night. My father worked at the Jersey Journal, but he worked nights. I figured we could work something out the next day. In the meantime, my friend and I would take a bus home from Port Authority in New York after the show. 

     I don't remember the show. I worried too much about my car and getting home. I knew how to get to NYC and I knew which bus to take. I just had no idea where it was located in the Port Authority building. 

     When the show was over, my friend and I walked back outside and saw a pool of blood on the steps of the auditorium. Evidently, during the show, someone had been slashed with a knife. That heightened my anxiety. I was so glad I had a friend to travel with me. I kept thinking the words of  “Amazing Grace” over and over in my head as we made our way to Port Authority. Once we arrived there, we had to ask a few people were the bus was located, but we did find it, bought tickets and headed home. 

      As it turned out, my car needed new spark plugs, but other than that it was fine. But I believe “Amazing Grace” saved the day for me.


Thursday, November 05, 2020

A New Contract!

I received a contract from Pelican Book Group for Home Somewhere. I was so delighted I even put on some makeup for this photo to sign the contract. 😄 As you can see, I now have gray hair--though I prefer to call the color Pandemic Blonde. 

I don't know when Home Somewhere will be released. There are always several rounds of edits to go through and Pelican Book Group has a schedule for releases. But at some point, I'll let everyone know as the time draws near. 

Home Somewhere is a contemporary Christian romance, which begins in New York City and then moves to the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. 

Here's the blurb:

Thea Ahern lands a job at a gossip magazine in NYC—a job she desperately needs. When she witnesses a man attack another on the subway, she stops the bleeding on the injured man. Hailed as the Angel of the L Train, people notice her striking resemblance to a once famous actress. This sparks a renewed interest in Paris Hulette and her whereabouts. What happened to the award-winning actress after her husband shot her?


Thea’s coworker, John, shields her from the ensuing media frenzy and she falls for him. But it is John’s boss who orders him to investigate Thea. When the boss is murdered, John is thrust into the spotlight along with Thea and his past is revealed. Can he be forgiven? Can Thea ever trust him again?


I'm sure my editor will work up a better blurb than that, but for now that's the general idea. While it will take a considerable amount of time for the book to be available, I have plenty of other books for folks to read. One of my long-time friends recently read Daddy Wanted and called me to tell me the book could be a Hallmark movie. That was so nice to hear! So, for those of you who are Hallmark movie fans, I would suggest you read Daddy Wanted. 

At the moment, I am in the process of reissuing A Rush of Light, which was originally published by Awe-Struck Publishing in 2005. A few paperbacks are still available here and there, but I intend to have a nice, updated cover.

After that, I hope to start working on another book because writing is fun. 😁 




Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Until the day after Halloween, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP will be FREE at Smashwords. ( This book has a ghost, a billionaire, plenty of evil entities, and a terrible secret. 
Here are snippets of some reviews from the past:

A reader on Goodreads said, "This book surprised me. I though it was just a romantic novel, but I was wrong. Besides romance, includes other genres like suspense , paranormal and crime. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I really enjoyed the story!"

Diane Tugman of The Romance Studio said, "With each chapter you'll be drawn into a tangled web of the supernatural."

Anastasia Castella-Young of Mind Fog Reviews said, "I highly recommend this paranormal romance to those interested in demons, spirits, adventure and love. Penelope Marzec hits the mark dead on!"

This is the story of Jennifer Brant. Her existence has centered on protecting the world from a cursed spirit who guards a deadly portal located on her farm. When a billionaire developer, haunted by the sins of his past, wants to buy her farm, she refuses, knowing the spirit will be released on those she loves. When someone intent on controlling the demon kidnaps her brother in order to use the farm for his own evil deeds, Jennifer and the billionaire must unite to save her brother and destroy the portal. Can their union grow into a loving and safe lifetime for them and their future generations?

The following scene is in Nathan's point of view--he's the billionaire. While Jennifer sleeps after being involved in an accident, Michael, her brother, offers Nathan the land he wants. This comes as quite a surprise to the billionaire...

Nathan placed another log on the cheery blaze in the fireplace. Jennifer lay on the couch, bundled in a wealth of quilts. Her chest rose and fell softly in a steady rhythm. He sat in the chair and took a calming breath. Despite a variety of bruises and a mild concussion, she should be fine, especially since he had volunteered to watch her for the rest of the night.

Michael walked into the room with two brandy glasses. “Here, McDugan. It’s been a long night.”

“Thanks.” He accepted the glass.

Michael paced around the room with his brow deeply furrowed. The younger man was still revved up and running on adrenaline.

 “I want to thank you. I really panicked when I saw Jen’s truck up against that tree,” he admitted. “I’m usually cool on a call but it’s different when it’s one of your own...” After a pause, Michael continued in a raspy tone. “You see, our parents died in a car accident.”

He nodded. He’d felt the twist in his gut when he had heard the metal crumple in the crash, but when he saw Jennifer in that wreck it was as if his heart slipped out of gear. He sipped some of the brandy. The warmth of peaches tingled on his tongue and his control nearly crumbled. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he dared another taste. The sample reminded him so vividly of the flavor of Jennifer’s lips that he felt nearly possessed.

He drew in a great breath. For a moment tonight, he thought he had lost her. In that brief flash, raw grief sliced into him. Thinking about it later, he was stunned at his violent reaction. He told himself that simply visiting a wreck stirred up the old horror.

“The police said someone tampered with the brake hoses,” Michael blurted out. “But that’s ridiculous. I know it’s an old truck. But George—” He stopped his restless pacing and paled. “George always fixed it.”

“She said the brakes didn’t work.” He kept his voice low. He did not want to disturb her. She needed to rest.

“Yeah. Yeah. I know.” Michael downed a good portion of the brandy in one gulp. “How much land do you really need?”

He narrowed his eyes, wondering if he had heard correctly.

“Your absolute minimum,” Michael reiterated.

Momentarily speechless with surprise, he nearly dropped the glass in his hand. Did he see desperation in the hard lines around Michael’s mouth? “Your sister has led the fight and worked the hardest to keep me out of Marlpit. Won’t she consider you a traitor?”

“Everything has changed in the last few months. Everything.” Michael swore softly. “My wife is ill. We had another dry summer so we didn’t grow much produce.” He gave a small snort. “Except for peaches. We had plenty of peaches. Now with Jennifer’s truck destroyed, I don’t think there’s any way—” He didn’t finish the thought. A deep scowl creased his forehead and he balled up his fists.

Nathan cleared his throat. Warning gongs sounded in his brain but he ignored them. He had no reason to trust Michael Brant. However, after tonight, it seemed worth the gamble. “Forty acres.”

Michael sniffed. “Why didn’t you tell us that in the first place?”

“I padded my original proposal figuring it would get whittled down to nothing anyway.” Despite the heady liquor, his nerves seemed ready to snap. He’d wanted this for so long.

Michael set his glass on the mantle and stared into the fire, his back to Nathan. “What price?”

He realized he was about ready to crush the glass in his hand. He forced himself to relax. Leaning back in the chair, he tried to look casual. He didn’t want to get roped into a ridiculous deal.

“This is an unusual liqueur,” he said, taking another sip from his glass. “Do you make your own brew?”

Michael’s shoulders sagged. “Nah. That stuff is something Jen mixes up. Peach juice and vodka, I think.”

He glanced at her, still sound asleep on the couch. Wispy tendrils framed her serene face. She looked fragile—and enchanting. A pang of something like loneliness stabbed at his heart. Clearing his throat, he added. “Your sister is quite talented.”

“Yeah. Well, you have to do something with all those peaches before they rot,” Michael commented. He plopped down in the wingback chair and hung his head. He looked beaten.

Despite the smell of victory, a hollow space seemed to widen in Nathan’s heart. This had all become more than a simple business deal. While he had spent months arguing with Jennifer and the people of Marlpit, he would win only because fate and some crazed maniac had lent him a hand.

“Which forty acres are you willing to part with?” He stared into the sweet but potent liquor in his glass.

Silence hung in the air for several tense minutes before Michael answered. “You can have a portion of Abigail’s woods.”

He lifted his head and frowned. “It would take extra labor to clear it.”

Michael stood again as he spoke louder than before. “It’s well up on the ridge so you won’t have any drainage problems. In addition, it’s out of the DEP’s designated area.”

Then something sparked in Michael’s eyes as his voice reached a new crescendo. “Aside from that, the visitors to your fancy theater will have a sweeping view of feudal serfs living as they did in the dark ages! You should be able to raise the price of the tickets for that privilege!”

Jennifer moaned and stirred on the couch. Without conscious thought, Nathan sprang to her side. He touched her forehead. His hand shook. He wasn’t sure if she felt warm or hot. Dammit. She looked too pale.

“Should I wake her like the doctor said and ask her some questions? Do you think she’s all right? How does her forehead feel to you?” His heart hammered in his chest.

Michael rubbed the back of his callused hand on his sister’s cheek. “She’s okay. I should just keep my big mouth shut.”

Relief flowed through him. “She always tries to act so tough but she isn’t,” he mumbled, almost to himself. Then he glanced back at Michael, catching an odd puzzled look as it flitted across the younger man’s features.

“Yeah. Well. She’s flesh and blood, McDugan. Two hundred year old maple trees are a lot tougher,” he whispered hoarsely. “Come on into the kitchen. I’ll get a calculator. Let’s talk numbers.”

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Blogging Here and There

It’s been a busy, bloggy week. I have one blog post at Pamela Thibodeaux’s blog. It’s all about our church’s wonderful and productive prayer shawl ministry. You can read that story here:

I have another blog post at Jodie Wolfe’s blog. Jodie interviewed me. If you’d like to know more about me and about Patriot’s Courage just go to

Aside from blogging, I’ve been carefully going through A RUSH OF LIGHT, one of my earlier inspirational romances, which is also one of my most Catholic inspirationals. I hope to reissue it soon. It was originally published by Awe-Struck Ebooks in 2006, which seems like such a long time ago. I really love the book. I love Nick and Callie. I love all the secondary characters, too. The story has mystery, suspense, action, and ❤️. There are still paper copies of it available online at Amazon. ( ) I made a book video for it, too, which you can see at

Books are so much fun. I really love them all. 💕 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Guest Post: FOLLOWING THE SPARROWS by Karen Malley

My guest today is Karen Malley. She lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. She works full time as a scientist, but enjoys writing in her spare time whenever she can fine some! When not writing (with her left hand), she enjoys baking, volunteering at her church, camping hiking, playing board games, and reading. She loves reading faith-based stories, because we can all use a happy ending.
Karen's latest release from Prism Lux is FOLLOWING THE SPARROWS.

It's the story of Kathryn Baker who is trying to escape her past...

After the tragic death of her husband, Kathryn throws herself into her scientific career. She hopes to right the wrongs of her past before they catch up to her. But when she runs into a handsome stranger, she discovers that he just might hold the key to her future.

Adam Harrison is tired of running from his past ...

After losing everything he worked for in life, Adam is finally ready to follow the path God has for him. When a series of chance meetings brings him to Kathryn, he considers the possibility of loving again. But Kathryn is still on the run from God and from her past.

Can Adam convince Kathryn to stop running and trust him with her secrets, or will her fear make it impossible for them to have a future together?

Now for an excerpt!

The smell of burnt coffee intruded into Kathryn’s thoughts. She crossed the room and poured herself a cup. The frozen pizza she’d eaten earlier twisted around inside her. She gulped the coffee to try to settle her stomach, if not her nerves. Normally caffeine at this time of night was forbidden, but she needed to stay alert. A series of commercials played across the TV screen. Trailers for movies she’d never see, commercials for drugs she didn’t take, and promos for shows she didn’t watch. Nothing else in the world mattered right now. Only Robert. Oh, if only their last conversation weren’t a fight.

She walked over to Anne, who sat with her head propped on her hands, hair covering her face. Sitting as quietly as possible, Kathryn tried not to disturb her. She glanced at her watch. When would they finally come tell them something? The minutes dissolved into an ever-deepening puddle that threatened to drown her. 

She got up again. 

She paced. Twenty-four steps to the far wall, twenty-four steps back. 

By the time Kathryn convinced herself they forgot them, a man in green scrubs approached them. “Are you the family of Robert Baker?” Anne and Kathryn nodded in unison. 

“Walk with me.” He guided them down the hall toward the ICU, keeping a continual narrative as they went. 

 “Robert’s condition is critical. He sustained numerous lacerations and fractures, including a complete break of his left humerus and multiple ribs. One of the ribs punctured his right lung, which collapsed. We’ve set the bones, and surgically repaired his lung, but he also suffered massive head trauma. Our biggest concern is the cerebral edema. We’ve put in a stent to relieve the pressure, but it’s touch and go. We’ll know more if he makes it through the next twelve to twenty-four hours.”

Kathryn stopped in her tracks and stared at him. “Wait, what? If he makes it?”

The doctor turned toward her, and the harsh lines around his face softened. “Brain injuries are impossible to predict. He may not make it through the night. I’m sorry. Even if he does wake up, he may not be able to communicate again.” 

“Can we see him?” Anne asked, her voice trembling.

“Yes, but I wanted you to be prepared. I’m sorry there isn’t more we can do for him.” 

Kathryn leaned against Anne to stay upright. Half her life. Half her life she’d been with Robert. Stable, predictable Robert. He was the one thing she thought she could count on in life. She took a deep breath and followed Anne into the hospital room.

You can more information about Karen and her books at any of the links below:






Amazon author page:




Link to buy the book:





Thursday, October 08, 2020

Be a Good Writer, Be a Good Listener

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I am a good listener. It is one of the facets of my personality, which has been invaluable to me as a writer. As a child I was shy, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention. Every conversation, every tidbit of gossip, and every event was tucked away in the file in my mind for future reference. As I grew and became less shy, I began to ask questions. If someone wanted to tell me their life story, I was ready and willing to take it all in. If someone was a bit reticent about divulging their past, I would prod them a bit by telling them about an incident in my life. In most cases, they eagerly responded with a story about a similar event in their life.

I enjoy meeting new people so I can discover what makes them tick. Whenever hubby and I used to go out to eat, I would listen to the conversations of the diners at other tables. Social gatherings gave me an opportunity to meet new people and study them.

When I began to write in earnest for publication, I never had a problem putting together new characters because I had a lifetime of characters to draw from. I usually created composites--a little of this person, a little of that person, and a splash of someone else just for fun.

Then came the pandemic. 

No eating out, no social gatherings, no opportunities to meet new people. Of course, I kept up with everyone I already knew via Zoom. Video chats are nice, but not the same thing as seeing someone in person. Also, video chats usually contain far more than one person. 

Then there is Facebook, but since it’s a presidential election year, Facebook is a dangerous place to be unless you have a dog or a cat, which I don’t. I have come to rely on non-political posts using photos of the beach, flowers, food, or photos of my books.

There is also the phone. Not for texting, but for talking. It takes time to listen but it is worth it in my opinion because some small detail may be useful in a book somewhere. For instance, a friend of mine texted me to ask for the name of our plumber. I gave it to her. I phoned her a few days later and discovered her plumbing problem was caused by work being done in the apartment above hers. She recounted the entire series of events, which took a while. It wasn't a particularly happy situation. However, I thought  it would be a rather interesting way for a young woman and a young man to meet. 

So, I have a new story idea in my file. 

Yes, listening is very useful for a writer. Keep your ears open. 👂