Wednesday, October 27, 2021


This is an old photo of my sister and our dog, King. King was a mutt with obvious traces of husky in his genetic makeup. His house was a fifty-gallon drum, and he lived outside most of the time except during extreme weather situations like hurricanes and blizzards. My parents were of the opinion that dogs were dogs.

King was presented to my brother and I as a birthday present. I was six at that point and my sister was one, but as the years went by she loved that dog so much that at the age of three she proclaimed that she was going to marry him. :^)

The dog catcher incarcerated King when he was nine years old. We got him back, but he died shortly afterward. Dad buried him on the hill behind the house.

We had other pets over the years, but King lived the longest and was much loved. When I put dogs into my stories, I always think of him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Guest Post: ARMS OF FREEDOM by Kathleen Neely


My guest today is Kathleen Neely, a retired elementary principal who enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading. 

She is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, Arms of Freedom, and In Search of True North. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions


Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 


Kathleen's latest release is ARMS OF FREEDOM. 

With each page of the age-old journals, Annie discovers all that unites her with a woman who once lived in her farmhouse. One lived with wealth and one with poverty, but both knew captivity. Both longed to be free.  

Miriam yearns to escape her life as a super model. She drops the pseudonym and uses the name she gave up years ago—Annie Gentry. Then she alters her appearance and moves to rural South Carolina to care for her grandmother. Can she live a simple life without recognition? Can she hide a net worth valued in the millions? Love is nowhere in her plans until she meets a man who wants nothing more than Annie Gentry and the simple life he lives. 

Charlotte lived in the same farmhouse in the tumultuous 1860’s. The Civil War was over, but for a bi-racial girl, freedom remained elusive. She coveted a life where she wouldn’t bring shame to her family. A life where she could make a difference. As she experiences hope, will it be wrested from her? 

The journals stop abruptly with a climactic event, leaving Annie to search for information. What happened to Charlotte? Did her life make a difference?  Did she ever find freedom? 

Intrigued? Read an excerpt to find out more.

The key turned in the lock, but the attic door still required a strong arm to open it. Years of dried paint scraped the door jamb. The bottom rebelled against the threshold, clearly in need of a carpenter to sand it down or re-align it. She propped it open, hit the light switch and immediately met years of stagnant air. A musty smell caught in her throat activating a gag reflex. She coughed, then hoisted the cardboard boxes to shield her nose and mouth. As the still air began to dance in its new freedom, the disturbed dust mites floated in dull light beams. She’d have to deal with this sometime. She’d take the boxes and drop them upstairs. The attic needed a good airing out before she could look around. With the boxes held high in her arms, Annie climbed the steep wooden stairs. 

The dim light cast shadows, enough to know that the room wasn’t empty. Annie plopped the boxes down and felt along the wall for another light. Instead, she found a string dangling from a single bulb mounted on the ceiling. She tugged the string and the room came to life revealing a lightly-cluttered attic. Sheets covered surfaces in their attempt to protect them from years of dust. Her initial inclination was to leave this for another day. Or another year. Low priority with all she had to do. 

Yet something compelled her to stay. A few boxes and a storage chest. You would expect those in an attic. But a large section of the room held an air of familiarity. Children’s furniture had been stacked against one wall. A wooden table, four chairs, two turned upside down to nest on the other two, and a bookshelf. A carpet, about six-foot square, spread out on the floor in front of the furniture. Why was everything so familiar? She had only visited here twice when she was around five years old. And she was certain she’d never been in the attic. Eleanor would not have allowed it. 

Annie opened an old chest that sat on the carpet. She lifted the dusty lid and saw the toys, mostly wood and metal. A toy tea set, a sorry looking stuffed teddy bear, and wooden building blocks with faded alphabet letters. A smaller chest sat beside it. She picked up a yo-yo, the string discolored and stiff, marbles in a cardboard box, a metal spinning top, void of color. These were definitely old, perhaps antiques. She lowered the lid, puzzling over this discovery. Another box held two items, both wrapped in cloth. She lifted one and removed the flannel to discover a baby doll. An image formed in her mind. She had seen this doll. She was certain of it. She could see a vision of the doll sitting on one of the wooden chairs. She knew she’d find another when she unwrapped the other flannel—one with red, curly hair. 

As she unpacked the second doll, it all came back to her. A picture. She’d seen the items in a painting at Nana’s home, the home she had in Pittsburgh before she moved to Roswell House Assisted Living. The painting mirrored Andrew Wyeth’s style of down-home realism with rustic details. The table and chairs on the same carpet where Annie stood today, the tea set in the center, and two dolls seated with teacups before them. The gritty window in the background of the picture with its yellow-gold curtains matched the window a few feet away. The gold had faded to a drab shade and held years of dust, but it was the same curtain. The same window. That meant a child’s play area had been in this attic. Why would anyone set up a playroom in an attic? Or perhaps this space served as an artist studio, the dolls and tea set staged for a picture. But another thought marched to her brain. Her grandmother’s words. Those walls hold secrets.


 You can find Kathleen at:


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You can find ARMS OF FREEDOM at:





Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Reissue of A RUSH OF LIGHT with a New Cover

One of the things I set off to do during the lockdown was to reissue A RUSH OF LIGHT. My inspirational romance was originally published by AweStruck Publishing at the end of 2005. When AweStruck folded, Mundania Press added the book to their catalog. After a while, I requested a return of the rights fully intending to add it to my other orphaned titles on Amazon. But I simply didn't get around to it. The pandemic provided the impetus for me to jump into this project, but--as always--I was distracted by other projects. I had edits to complete for Home Somewhere and I began working on another book. Meanwhile, A RUSH OF LIGHT got lost in the shuffle. 

But Taria Reed came through with a new cover and once I check for more pesky mistakes in the manuscript, A RUSH OF LIGHT will be available once more in both ebook and paperback. 

I am delighted. I love this book. Of course, I love all my books. Each one is very special to me, but this one has the distinction of being my longest book. I had a lot of fun writing it, too. 

It was given many wonderful reviews, but one of my favorites was from Faith Smith in Romantic Times Book Reviews. She wrote, "Marzec's book is sweet but strong in all the right emotions."



Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Guest Post: NO LONGER A CAPTIVE by Carol James

My guest today is Carol James, an author of inspirational fiction. She loves creating Redemptive Romance. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell Terrier, 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, was an Amazon number one best-seller. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases:


Just recently, Carol allowed Zoe to start an instagram page with two of her dog friends. Follow them at 3DogsandtheirAuthors to learn the behind the scenes info about being a writer. 


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.

NO LONGER A CAPTIVE is the story of Ethne O'Connor. When her brother, Sean, tells her of father's unexpected death, he asks her to do something she promised herself she'd never do. Come back home. 


A victim of childhood abuse, Ethne left her father and the small Texas town of Crescent Bluff ten years ago on the night of her high school graduation. She's determined to end the cycle of abuse and believes the only way to do that is remain single. If she has no husband, she'll never have children that can be abused.


Then she meets Daniel Spenser, a handsome doctor with chocolate-kiss eyes. Daniel understands her past in a way no one else does. He's lived it. 


Will Daniel be able to help Ethne break the chains of captivity around her heart? 


And will God release her from her past, to be free to trust the man she comes to love?

Excerpt for No Longer a Captive


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 

John 8:36 

            The gravel crunched beneath the tires as Ethne OConnor steered the box truck onto the shoulder of the narrow country road. Today would be a scorcher. The clock hadnt yet reached nine in the morning, and already the numbers on her dashboard read ninety-two. The birth of another lovely summer day in Central Texas. 

            The heat waves rising from the pavement in front of her mirrored the waves of nausea that had steadily intensified since shed left Fort Worth. She shifted the truck into park, flipped on the emergency flashers, and turned the air conditioning on high. Closing her eyes, she pushed her head back against the seat and begged the cold air to rush across her face and relieve her churning stomach. 

            She couldnt believe she was doing this. One May evening ten years ago, with her suitcase already packed in the trunk of her car, she walked across the stage in the high school auditorium, received her diploma, and made a promise to herself, a vow that had never been broken…until today. Seans pleading phone call on Monday had changed everything. She was returning home. 

            The nausea somewhat under control, she shifted the truck into drive, pulled back onto the roadway, and turned off the emergency flashers. One last mile to go. Anticipation was a funny thing. When she wanted something to happen, it took forever to come. If she dreaded an event, it arrived before she knew it. These last several days had gone by way too fast. 

            Slowing the truck, she turned left and began the journey down a meandering river of asphalt. As she rounded the final curve and her childhood home came into view, she gasped. In the ten years shed been gone, absolutely nothing had changed. The two-story farm house was still painted white with black shutters. Large Boston ferns hung from under the edges of the front porch and swayed in the ever-present Texas wind. Even the flowers waving in the pots beneath them were the same—purple petunias.

            Nine oclock and no Sean, but she wasn't surprised. Punctuality had never been expected of him. On the other hand, Vaughn had always demanded she be on time. Even early. That requirement had served her well over the years, birthing in her the organizational skills that helped her successfully start and run her business. 

            She parked the truck at the top of the circular drive, and despite the heat, slipped on her sweater, and inched across the pavement and up onto the porch. She grasped the doorknob. As she expected, it was locked, and she didnt have a key. Years ago, shed thrown hers away because she would never need it again. If shed kept it, she could have at least gone inside and escaped the heat. 

            She turned and walked toward one of the rocking chairs. A forgotten green turtle with a chipped front leg smiled at her from underneath one of the pots of flowers. She picked it up and slid back the door on its belly. A key fell out into her hand. When she was a little girl, she always believed the key was there for Sean and her—in case they got locked out and Vaughn was still at the office. That was certainly one of the reasons, but when she was eleven, shed discovered another. 

            She returned the oblivious little turtle to his home and then inserted the key into the lock. Taking a deep breath, she turned the key and pushed the door open. Cool, silent darkness greeted her as she stepped into the spotless—Vaughn would have it no other way— foyer. 

            She set the key on the console table beside the door and then tiptoed, for some unexplainable reason, further in. She paused and glanced first toward the living room to her right and then toward Vaughns home office to her left. There was only one choice to make. She headed right and walked to the wingback chair next to the fireplace. Sitting, she nestled into the cushions. She pressed her nose against the fabric. Even after all these years, she could imagine the soft fragrance of Mothers perfume lingering in the ivory brocade.

            Heavy draperies hung closed over the living room windows. A shaft of light shot out from the middle space where the panels failed to meet completely and illuminated a flock of dust motes as they floated in the bright morning sun. When she was five, Mother told her the particles were tiny fairies dancing in the sunshine, but they were usually invisible. Only the magic of the sun unveiled them. 

            One day, Ethne had asked Vaughn if she could borrow his magnifying glass to see the fairies, but hed refused, saying Mother had filled her head with nonsense. Fairies werent real. 

            Turns out, that was one of the few truthful statements hed ever made to her. She now knew the ‘fairies’ were nothing more than a combination of dead skin cells, fabric fibers, pollen, and dirt. He was right. Nothing magical about that. 

            As she walked over to the window and threw open the curtains, the fairies disappeared. 

            “So, the prodigal sister hath returned.” 

            She jumped and spun to face the foyer. Her little brother spanned the doorway. He had grown up. The last time shed seen him at his college graduation three years ago, he was at that stage where the calendar said he was a man, but his body was trying to catch up. He had certainly filled out, and he now sported a short, precisely-trimmed, chestnut beard. His hair, unlike hers, had deepened from bright copper to rich auburn. 

            “Sean. Youre late,” she snipped. This was not the way shed envisioned their first meeting after all this time. She took a deep breath, reined in her emotions, and smiled. “Or maybe Im a little early. I have a reputation for that.” She pulled him into a sisterly hug. 

            His grin answered hers. “Early, late, whatever. Im just glad you came. I was beginning to wonder if Id ever see you again.” 

            “The road runs both ways, you know.” 

            “Yeah. Sorry.” He held up the key shed placed on the console table. “I see you remembered the turtle. I figured Id find you sitting on the porch in one of the rockers.” 

            He set a small, black gym bag on the floor. “Wheres your suitcase? Need me to get it out of the truck?” 

            “Im not staying here. Ive got a room in town.” 

            “Eth, I can see how hard this must be for you.” Tears filled his eyes. “Believe me. I know.” 

            He really had no idea. The man he knew as Dad was not the same one she knew as Vaughn. 

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