Monday, July 17, 2017

Fear and the Writer


In 2016, I had three books released. Then my father died, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I went through radiation therapy, my mother-in-law got pneumonia, and had to be moved into an assisted living facility. In addition, my oldest daughter got married and my husband had cataract surgery. I had diverticulitis. I had a posterior vitreous detachment in my eye. In short, I was wrung out.

With all that, my writing routine took a downturn. I've been working on another book, but the writing has crept along at a snail's pace. I began to question myself. "Who is going to read this book anyway? Is it worth it? Am I wasting my time?"

Like most creative people, I've doubted my own ability many times over in whatever project I've undertaken at the time. But I pressed onward and always settled into a happy groove, remembering how much fun it is to write. It made me feel good and as my father used to say, "It's cheaper than therapy."

This time the nagging suspicions persisted. I won't call it writer's block, because it isn't that. It is fear.

I stumbled upon this blog post by Jen Morris. I think you should read it.  For me, it was totally relevant. Fear takes on other disguises--like procrastination or perfectionism.

http://www.jenmorriscreative.com/overcoming-fear-in-the-creative-process/

With some of Jen Morris's suggestions, I've made considerable progress on my manuscript this week. Writing is my happy place. I can't let fear take that away.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Lowly, But Velvety Moss


This is a closeup of the moss in my yard. It covers the concrete borders of the patio and the driveway. It has gotten into my flower garden as well. I continually try to eradicate it. Daughter #2 thinks it is nice. I think it makes the old homestead look like Rip Van Wickle lives here.

Still, moss is rather amazing stuff. It doesn't have roots and grows where nothing else will grow. During World War I, sphagnum moss was used as a wound dressing--after it was cleaned, of course. Moss is very absorbent and has antibiotic properties as well.

Moss has become a popular addition to fairy gardens and terrariums. Entrepreneurs actually sell it. People spend their hard-earned cash and buy it. It does have a wonderful velvety texture to it and it's a luscious green.

But I keep trying to get rid of it. Sigh.

Monday, June 26, 2017

FREE at Smashwords in July

SMASHWORDS is having a spectacular SALE. For the entire month of July, readers may download three of my books for FREE. (Look for the coupon on the page!) Two of my longer novels will be at the fabulously reduced price of $1.50. (50% off!) Don't hesitate!  Load up your ebook reader, take a long trip, and read all five books before summer is over. 

Below are the books I'm offering along with a few of the reviews for each one. 


PRINCE OF THE MIST is a contemporary paranormal romance which weaves in ancient Irish myths and legends. It has received many wonderful reviews over the years.

Julie Bonello at ECataRomance Reviews gave PRINCE OF THE MIST 4 Stars and said, “Penelope Marzec’s novella Prince of the Mist is an enchanting paranormal romance which will keep you enthralled from the first page to the last sentence!.....Prince of the Mist is a page-turning story which you will find very hard to put down. Penelope Marzec is a very talented author who keeps her readers hooked with this fabulous story which is full of fun, passion and intrigue.”

Brenda Thatcher, Reviewer at Mystique Books gave it Four and One Half Moons. She said, “PRINCE OF THE MIST is a wonderful book, a tender tale of love set against a politically hot topic….PRINCE OF THE MIST is highly recommended. It is a beautiful story of love that shows how two people from vastly different cultures can find unity.”

Wendi at Road to Romance said, “PRINCE OF THE MIST is so well written and spellbinding, my attention was grabbed from the beginning. I read the story all at once.”



KISS OF BLARNEY is another contemporary paranormal romance employing Irish myths and legends. It was well-received by readers who posted these reviews on Goodreads. 

"What happens when an Irish fairy princess sets out to rescue her mentor and friend, a druid priestess, by visiting the mortal world makes for magic, mayhem, and passionate romance with a handsome Irishman who misses his ancestral roots. Fast paced and charming! A must read!"

"Kiss of Blarney is a great read! I read it in one sitting. Shay and Ula make the perfect couple. I really enjoyed Ula's innocence toward the world around her since she grew up very sheltered. I think she's a great balance to Shay's skepticism. The end surprised me and swept me away. I literally couldn't put down the last 30 pages. Definitely a recommended read for paranormal lovers who love tales about the Irish."


FALLING IN LOVE is a collection of short, sweet romance stories.

One reader on Goodreads said, "It is exactly as advertised - short, sweet romances that make you go "ahhh". The stories run approximately 5 pages on average. A few left me wanting more and others gave me the idea that the scenes needed to be used in the movies."

An Amazon reader said, "This is a great little book to keep in your purse in case you're stuck waiting somewhere! The stories are short but deliver big entertainment value. They're uplifting with a twist to each one that surprised me."









IRONS IN THE FIRE is a contemporary paranormal romance.

This book has a special place in my heart. I love all my books, in the same way I love all my children--but each one is unique. Irons in the Fire was the first book I finished. It received the most rejections, but it gained some especially nice recognition when it was finally published.

Originally published by New Concepts Publishing, it was later reissued by Crescent Moon Press. The rights now belong to me once more and the book  is available in both print and digital editions. 


It was a nominee for Best Small Press Paranormal in Romantic TimesReviewers' Choice Award and has received excellent reviews.


Long and Short Reviews gave it 4 1/2 Stars and said, "The twists in this one were totally unexpected. There are surprises all along the way to the final revelation of who was behind all of the evil in the town. I did not expect some of this at all. I like that in a mystery--not knowing is the best kind of plot. The romance builds slowly, and for each step these two take toward each other, they take two steps back. I loved it when they finally acknowledged their feeling were real, and the passion they finally let loose was wonderful." 






THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is also a contemporary paranormal romance.

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!"


Make this summer a summer of romance! Visit SMASHWORDS!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Married!

The Groom (my new son-in-law!) and the Bride, aka Daughter #1
Daughter #1 and her true love were married this past weekend at our parish church. The priest officiating at the Mass was not our parish priest. He was a man who had gone to Stockton College at the same time Daughter #1 was there. While she got her degree in marine science, he got his in philosophy. Afterward, he became a priest. When Daughter #1 asked him if he would serve as the celebrant at her wedding, he accepted. He impressed all the wedding guests--not only with his homily, but also because they all thought he looked like Jesus. And he made everyone laugh.
😆
The reception was held on the River Queen, a boat on the Manasquan River. The food, the playlist, and the company were wonderful. Daughter #1 and her groom had done most of the planning well ahead of time, but it takes many hands to make a party great.

Before the wedding, the groom's sister applied Daughter #1's makeup. Daughter #3 whipped up a throwaway bouquet in nothing flat and gave hubby a bell to ring whenever he wanted the bride and groom to kiss. (Glassware is not used on the boat.)

My southern sister and her family took care of the decorations on the boat. Babci's oldest granddaughter picked up our aging ninety-six year old, got her to the ceremony, to the boat, and then returned her to her facility. My aunt and uncle kept Babci company for much of the cruise. Daughter #2 gave a wonderful impromptu toast. The groom's aunt got some of the best videos of the dances and shared them.

The crew on the River Queen did an excellent job and I highly commend them, but I am grateful and thankful to all the other family members who pitched in where they were needed. That is love in action. The best kind of love there is.
💖


Thursday, June 01, 2017

I Was Bullied


A long, long time ago my Uncle Bob, Aunt Grace, who was my mother's sister, and their two sons took a trip on the Queen Elizabeth. My uncle worked for Firestone and had been transferred to their plant in South Africa. My family went to New York City to see them off. I am in the photo above on the right and my sister is on the left.

We had dressed in our fanciest dresses for the occasion. However, beneath my dress I did not wear a bra. I was rather young. Puberty had not begun for me, but there were girls in my class at school who had already begun to develop. In the girls' lavatory, they would snap each other's bra straps. One day, one of the girls grabbed me and discovered there wasn't a strap along my back. The girls in my class all laughed at me.

That day, when I went home I cried to my mother and told her I needed a bra. Back in those days, there weren't any "training" bras or preteen bras. Still, my mother bought the smallest bra available. I put it on. There was a lot of empty space, but that didn't matter to me. I wouldn't be laughed at anymore--at least for not wearing a bra.

Some children can be terribly cruel. I was fortunate because I had loving parents who were always there for me to soften the blows of other childrens' taunts and to talk through the situation. I was also lucky because I was never harmed physically. And while there were no training bras for young girls in those days, the internet hadn't been invented  either. As much as I enjoy social media, I can understand what a problem it can be for youngsters.

But bullies are still with us, causing many youngsters long term, emotional harm. There are many sites online with helpful tips. Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2016/10/child-bullied/ for some expert advice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We Are All Disabled

This was my cousin, Bill. He operated those huge hydraulic excavators, crawler cranes, crawler tractors and crawler loaders. He took flying lessons, earned his pilot's license and bought a plane. He rode motorcycles and jet skis  One day, he dove into his pool and broke his neck. Afterwards, he was still Bill. Still a man who could make people laugh. Still a man everyone loved despite his limitations. He died too young from pneumonia. 

There are other disabled people in my family.  Some have a profound hearing loss. Some have mobility issues. Some are greatly restricted by their disease.

Everyone is damaged in some way. There are no perfect specimens. Romance writers do dream up some mighty, incredible heroes, but in truth no one is immune from limitations. Even though Achilles was a hero he had that thing with his heel, and that's what defeated him.

From the day we're born we come with all kinds of built in boundaries such as congenital "defects" and genetic tendencies handed down to us by our predecessors. Over the years we endure traumatic events in childhood, which leave a mark forever in our psyches. Then there are illnesses, accidents, and finally the inevitable slide into the decay of old age which brings further limitations. Not a single human on this planet will not be disabled in some way sooner or later. 

I believe the majority of people attempt to distance themselves from the disabled because they are afraid. They turn away--as if not seeing the victim will prevent them from enduring such a fate. Some folks are deliberately cruel and make fun of those who are noticeably different in their physical appearance or those who must use adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs.

Once, when my cousin was in the hospital for an infection, he told me one of the psychiatrists had asked him about depression. "As if I could jump out the window." Bill shook his head.

Some progress in accommodating the disabled has been made over the years. Buildings are now planned to allow wheelchair access. Sidewalks have ramps. Still, there is a lot more to do in making accommodations for those who are restricted in their movements. 

Education is a key factor. It wasn't that long ago when children with Down's Syndrome were institutionalized, but now they work everywhere. Some have become movie stars and models. 

There's hope, but we do need to keep an eye on our representatives and vote out those who ignore the marginalized. Vote out those who intend to cut Medicaid and programs that feed children and provide them with health care. Vote out those who would cut disability programs for people like my cousin. 

We must not allow those in power to ignore the less fortunate.

Join the Facebook group No Longer Faceless or Voiceless for further discussion on this topic. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AMAZON GIVEAWAY!

OUTSIDE BLESSINGS is a paranormal historical young adult story set in 1896, in New Jersey. The hero is a member of the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The heroine is seeking to clear her sister's name. Town officials believe her sister committed suicide and in those days, a suicide was not allowed to be buried in the hallowed ground of a graveyard. 

Here's the blurb:

Welcome to Blessings, N.J. .... a seaside town with dark and dangerous secrets. Neema wants to prove her sister was murdered, that she didn't commit suicide, but the murderer is still out there, still dangerous, and Neema could be the next victim if she asks too many questions. She has a secret, one she dare not divulge, even to Emmett, the young lifeguard she falls in love with. But Emmett has a secret of his own.

Until May 25, 2017, you have a chance to enter a sweepstakes for a free digital edition of OUTSIDE BLESSINGS!

All you have to do is go to:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/bdca43e0d30a9390

And sign up! It's super simple. Amazon picks the winners. If you win, you claim your prize, download the book, and enjoy!