Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tips for Road Trips

Last week, hubby and I drove to Pittsburgh to see our nephew get married. We also drove back. I am used to road trips. Every single summer when I was young, my family drove out to the Pittsburgh area to visit my grandparents and a whole passel of other relatives. Then we went to Ohio to visit more relatives. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is like an old friend. Still, four hundred miles one way is a long haul.

There are many sites online which list sensible tips for road trips. You should read them before you set out. Anything can happen on the road--and usually does.

I have a short list of tips based upon this last trip to Pittsburgh.

1. Make sure your maps or GPS are up to date. Pittsburgh changed all the exit numbers on me. It has changed the names of several streets, too. In addition, the Squirrel Hill tunnel is closed on the weekend. While it helps to have a sense of direction, a current map or GPS can save you from riding around in circles.

2. Carry antifreeze, oil, and water along with jumper cables and the necessary equipment for changing tires. Make sure you check all fluids in the car before you leave. Our car overheated at the rest stop at Sidling Hill on the turnpike. We did not bring an antifreeze along but a very kind young man handed us a gallon of the stuff. We drove for the rest of the trip without any air conditioning fearing the car would overheat again.

3. Good music helps--a lot. The driver always gets to choose. If you intend to go on a road trip with your significant other, it would be advantageous if you share a similar taste in music. (Think about this carefully before you marry anyone.) Still, it is very difficult to hear music on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the windows wide open because the air conditioning is not running.

Yes, we made it to Pittsburgh for the wedding--and we had a great time. We also arrived home but I am rather disenchanted with our puny 4 cylinder engine that couldn't.

I want an eighteen wheeler. The kind with the bed in the back of the cab and a kitchen. Sort of like the fancy custom model below.:-)

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Have you ever driven south on the Garden State Parkway in a thunderstorm? I have. Parts of southern NJ remain remote and desolate. Once I chanced to see the Parkway Phantom as I drove along in a terrible storm. You can read that story HERE.

On another trip as the rain poured down and I pulled out of the Asbury tolls, all the other vehicles seemed to vanish into the gray wall of water. I could not see the other cars anymore, but I knew they were still there. I drove slower and peered through the windshield searching for red tail lights. That's when I started thinking about writing a time travel novel. The atmosphere got to me. That's why Lesley in The Pirate's Wraith is driving south on the Garden State Parkway.

Go to the book's page at Amazon, HERE. Click on the cover to look inside the book. You can read the entire scene. :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


That's my mother in a photo taken not long before she passed away. Tomorrow will mark the fourth anniversary of her death. I miss her. Most of all, I miss her guidance. When it came to handing out advice, Mom was a pro. She should have been a psychologist. She listened carefully and then she gave her recommendation in a decisive tone. She did not waver or hesitate.

She was always right. :-)

With three daughters, I've done a lot of listening and I've given out plenty of advice, but I don't always know if my ideas are the best ideas. I wish Mom was here to back me up--or offer better suggestions.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beating the Heat

Here's how I used to beat the heat when I was a youngster. I got wet and stayed in a wet bathing suit for the rest of the day. There's my brother on the left, then me with the scrunched up face, then my sister, and on the right, my beautiful mother. :-)

It's been very hot in NJ this week, rather brutal in fact. I am staying inside in air conditioned comfort. It is too hot for the beach.

It was never too hot for the beach when I was young.

We lived by the bay, where there was almost always a breeze. (In the wintertime, that breeze turned into a strong wind that rattled the windows.) I don't remember being hot when I was a child--except when we went out to visit my grandparents in western Pennsylvania. They did not have a bay, a beach, or any large body of water nearby--except for a town pool.

It was too hot to move.

How do you beat the heat?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Book I Had to Write

My pirate/time travel romance, The Pirate's Wraith, is now available HERE at New Concepts Publishing for a special introductory price. It received a 5 Star review at PRG Reviews, which you can read HERE.

While it is true that I've been compelled to write every one of my books for some reason or another, the foundation of this particular novel grew out of my childhood in the little town of Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey. For as long as anyone can remember, there was always talk and speculation about the location of Captain Kidd's treasure. It was reported to be somewhere in that area.

In the 1920s, developers took advantage of the legends and built a pirate ship to serve as a realty office, intending to draw people to the area and sell them plots of land. A salt-water pool, a casino, a boardwalk, and small cottages added further enticements. When a hurricane in 1950 destroyed the boardwalk, people began to convert their bungalows to year round homes.

My parents moved there in the mid-1950s. Our house was situated above Treasure Lake, which was separated from Raritan Bay by a narrow strip of land. As children, my siblings and I entertained the idea of finding Captain Kidd's treasure. Once, during the early spring, I dug into some soft dirt in the cliff. Unfortunately, I wound up with a bad case of poison ivy from that adventure.

However, I became thoroughly interested in pirates and their history. The die was cast--so to speak.

So if you're looking for a watery adventure on the high seas, check out The Pirate's Wraith, and buy it now before the price goes up. :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Camp With MFRW!

I've never gone to summer camp. I went on some overnight camping trips with the Girls Scouts. My family and I did plenty of camping on our own because it was the most inexpensive way to go places. However, I never had the experience of going to a summer camp. Sigh.

Until now. :-)

Marketing for Romance Writers has set up a summer camp at the Coffee Time forums' site. I've been a member of the MFRW Yahoo group for quite a while. I've gotten lots of useful information and I discovered Prism Book Group there, too. I am looking forward to learning more about promotion and the business of writing.

If you want to join, go HERE. It's time for you to discover all the inside secrets of marketing. Oh--and maybe someone will bring along the S'mores, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sweet, Inexpensive, and even FREE!

Are you looking for good books? Do you like sweet romances and/or inspirational fiction? Do you like free downloads or very inexpensive downloads for your ereader?

If you want great fiction at great prices--or even FREE--then you should follow

You can subscribe to the site HERE.

AND if you are an author with a sweet and/or Christian romance at a bargain price, you can have it listed at the site. Go HERE to find the instructions.

My book, Daddy Wanted, is featured as one of the books today. At $2.99 it is a bargain! But I'm sure you'll enjoy the other books listed as well.

Please check out and load up your ereader with wonderful, inexpensive--and even FREE--stories. :-)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Come see me in beautiful Belmar, NJ!

I don't get out much, but on Sunday I will be in beautiful Belmar, NJ, with several other authors at the Paperback Exchange, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please stop by! To print the flyer below, click on it first to make a larger version appear on your screen, then print. I hope the weather is perfect and I hope to see you there. :-)

P.S. Don't forget to LIKE the Paperback Exchange on Facebook. Support your local independent bookstore!

Friday, July 05, 2013

My July Newsletter

I send out newsletters to my fans every now and then via I don't do it often, though I suppose I should. I prefer writing for this blog, posting on Facebook, or actually writing my stories. However, if you would like to receive my infrequent newsletters please go to the contest page at my website ( and in the comment box simply write NEWSLETTER. I'll get the message and add you to my list.

Hot News!

This has been an amazing year for me. Two of my books are being released this summer. Daddy Wanted, published by the Prism Book Group, became available on June 19th and The Pirate's Wraith, published by New Concepts Publishing, will be released on July 12th. This is truly a rare event and I am more than thrilled. To top it all off, I just signed a contract with Prism Book Group for my Revolutionary War romance, Patriot's Heart. All of these books will be very inexpensive and easy to order online. The digital edition of Daddy Wanted is selling for $2.99 and the paper edition is only $11.99. So far, Daddy Wanted has gotten some great reviews. Romance Junkies said, "With a mixture of misunderstandings, good intentions, desire, pregnancy, scandal, emotions, romance and love, this story is sure to touch your heart." Check out the reviews at Amazon, too! 

And the Winners Are...

Earlene Gillespie and Elvina Hanson! Congratulations! Each of you will receive an autographed paper edition of The Company You Keep. Please send you mailing address to me. The book will arrive in a Priority Mail envelope.

The next contest will be on my website in a few days. I'll also post it on my Facebook fan page. What? You haven't liked my Facebook fan page. :-( Please do that now. You can find it here:


"The story flows beautifully, the dialogue is quick, smart, and real."

(A review at Amazon)

Daddy Wanted is doing great! I am so pleased with readers' reviews. :-) If you purchase a copy of Daddy Wanted please add your review to those at Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble.

I'll be appearing at the Paperback Exchange in Belmar, NJ, on July 14th from 2 pm to 4 pm. Stop by and buy an autographed copy of the paper edition!

Copyright © *2013* *Penelope Marzec*, All rights reserved.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Guest Post: Whatever Happened to Courtship?

Today Daughter #1 is my guest. She will detail some of her dismal dating experiences. Please feel free to leave comments!

Thanks Mom for requesting a guest blog on a topic that’s been close to my heart lately. After yet another failed potential for a long-term relationship, I begin to wonder: why can't I enjoy an old-fashioned kind of courtship? The kind where we talk, get to know each other in a variety of situations, and learn to trust each other before we move towards intimacy.

My mother and I do not always see eye to eye on some aspects of dating and relationships. She lives and breathes romance, I’ll take hard sci-fi any day. I tell her that I don’t need my life to work out in the same manner as a contemporary romance. What we have agreed on is the diminished, if not completely absent, role of courtship.

I’m 34 and very single. My mother married at 26. I don't doubt I've been on more first dates than my mother. I’ve used several online dating sites and have not been satisfied with any of them. However, I also continue to meet men face-to-face at social functions and I find there isn’t much difference in whether I meet someone online or in person. It seems apparent to me that there is an entire generation of men who truly don’t understand the concept of courtship.

One of the most disturbing issues is the blatant use of false information. How can I be confident that these are honest men when they start off with a variety of lies? For instance, there was the poet who took artistic license with his age. “Early forties” does not translate to 47. The lack of trust was the reason that I let him go. If he lies about a simple thing such as age, what else is he telling me that may not be true?

I met a guy from one of my volunteer organizations, and we hit it off well. We had great communication, and he seemed really interested in me, until date #3. We went out for pho, nothing fancy, nothing very expensive—and he intended to split the check. I had been under the impression that since he invited me, he was treating me. He did pay, after a bit of a discussion. Later, we walked down to the river, and he suggested that we get a hotel room. Now, because he didn’t want to pay for dinner, I figured I’d get stuck with the cost of the room. Again, I refused—and learned that we had different relationship goals. I wanted a commitment. He wanted to sleep with as many women as possible—I would be simply another notch on the bedpost.

Recently, I reconnected with a man who I’d dated a few years ago. By chance, he landed a job working in the same building. I visited him once, just to catch up. However, he presumed too much on our previous acquaintance. He said he wanted to see me, he said he wanted a commitment. What he didn’t do was—well, everything. All he wanted was for me to come over to his apartment. No dates, no dinners, no walks in the park. Simply sex. No courtship of any kind.

I have a lot of male friends. However, they can be almost as bad as dates. They only want to see me for a specific activity at their convenience. One of them loves to hunt fossils. However, only when he wants to, not when I want to. Another of them only sees me as a kayaking companion. Again, no romance. I’m just one of the guys.

So, then what to do? If I’m not a sex object, I’m one of the guys. And sure, I enjoy many sports and scientific activities. But how do I convince a man that I’m a person—not a blowup doll? And what happened to simply taking a woman on a date, with no expectations for sex? What happened to simply enjoying a woman’s company and her conversation? What is this third date rule for sex that guys seem to constantly cite? I’d love to hear your comments.