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.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
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
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
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!"
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
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 https://www.jodiewolfe.com/2020/09/30/welcome-penelope-marzec/
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. (https://www.amazon.com/Rush-Light-Penelope-Marzec/dp/1587495643/ ) I made a book video for it, too, which you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7W_tv23Ujg&feature=share
Books are so much fun. I really love them all. 💕
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
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
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. 👂
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Too bad she still has to depend on good old Rodney, teachers' pet, for rides. Too bad her mother is so unreasonably strict. A ten PM curfew? Just because she lied? It's not fair.
But maybe there's more to other people than Charlotte realizes. And maybe she doesn't even know everything about herself. When Charlotte Masterson gets a life, life gets interesting.
“It’s your own fault, Charlotte.” Mom’s digging wet clothes out of the washing machine.
My fault? How can she possibly think that?
Mom continues. “We had simple rules, and you didn’t follow them. You not only didn’t follow them; you lied to us. That’s what I hate most of all. The lying. How can I ever trust you again?”
“There’s no but Mom.” She throws the clothes into the dryer like she’s pitching fastballs.
I understand that lying’s wrong. I didn’t like that Rodney lied to me about band practice. But when it comes to my mother, lying is the easiest way to avoid conflict.
“But Mom, Saturday night there’s a party for the football team. It doesn’t even start until eight. How can I be home by ten?”
“You should have thought of that before you broke the rules.” She slams the dryer door shut.
“But all the football players will be there. All the cheerleaders. All the cool kids.”
“So you’re a cool kid now?” Mom stares at me.
As long as I’m dating Tony, I’m in the cool crowd. I shrug.
“Will there be beer at this party?” Mom pushes the dryer’s start button.
The clothes start going round and round just like my thoughts. How can I answer that question? If I say yes, I’ll be grounded. If I say no, I’ll be lying. I’m almost certain there’ll be beer. “If there is, I won’t drink any. I promise.”
“So there might be beer? Is that what you’re telling me? There might be beer at a party for underage teens?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. Nobody discussed the eating and drinking arrangements with me.”
I should not have said that. Not in that tone of voice. But it’s too late to take it back.