Tag Archive | Penelope Marzec

Writer Wednesday: Penelope Marzec

Please welcome Penelope Marzec to Writer Wednesday! She’s written some fabulous books and I’ve had the honor of working with her on several of them.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I decided to be an author at the age of nine. That summer I wrote a book—in green ink on yellow legal paper and I illustrated it, too. In the story, the heroine came from another planet and could fly, which wasn’t a very original idea. However, the experience of writing enthralled me and I vowed I would eventually become a published author. Still, I didn’t want to suffer from starvation so I went to college and became an early childhood educator, which was a terrific job because I got to read and reread all my favorite children’s stories, sing songs, play, do craft projects, and teach the alphabet to lots of youngsters so they could grow up to be readers. Though I came home exhausted everyday, I wrote. It may have taken me longer to get published than some writers, but in the meantime I collected plenty of ideas for stories.

What’s your pet peeve?

I get very annoyed when someone who is not a writer informs me that if I want to be a famous author then I should write a bestseller. There are people who will not read books unless they are on the bestseller lists. They are missing a lot.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’ve endured several embarrassing moments as a writer, but I suppose one of the most humiliating occurred at a conference. I intended to take notes at a workshop with my trusty iPad, but for some reason the keyboard wasn’t working. I fiddled around with several settings until several of the other writers in the room called out my name. I glanced up at the presentation on the screen. Somehow, I had tapped into it. I turned off my iPad and wished I had an invisibility cloak handy.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

When my daughters were younger and I was working, my most difficult challenge was carving out time to write. When my youngest joined the Explorers so she could become an EMT at an early age, I drove her back and forth twice a week so she could become certified. During her two hour lessons, I sat on the floor in the hallway writing. It turned out to be worth every minute of sitting on that cold, hard floor because I sold the book and it won an award.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Getting rejections never bothered me much. As a member of RWA and the local NJ chapter, I learned about the process of submitting and the odds of getting rejected. A rejection to me seemed more like a badge of honor—proof that I possessed the determination to carry on despite the obstacles. After all, some writers had far more rejections than I did. However, negative reviews hit me hard at first. I found it difficult to understand how someone could read my book and decide it didn’t measure up to their personal standards. Sometimes, I wondered if the reviewers actually read the book. They could be so cruel!

My writing friends helped me get over the hurt. One of them pointed out how some of our favorite books had gotten terrible reviews. When I looked up the reviews on many of my most loved classics, I was appalled. There’s no accounting for taste as the old saying goes. Now I treat negative reviews with far more aplomb.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Being published by Pelican Book Group has been the high point of my career as a writer. Before that, I went from one small publisher to another. Several companies folded and I was left with orphaned manuscripts. I consider myself very fortunate to be writing for a company with solid Christian values.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m still debating with myself what to use as a title for my current work in process, but I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s the story of a young woman who grew up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey where nobody knew her mother was a once-famous, award-winning actress. When the young woman gets a job in New York City and helps save a man’s life, she is caught up in a media frenzy. One of her new coworkers comes to her aid, but his own dark secret will threaten them both.

Clear as Ice (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by [Marzec, Penelope]Bio:

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.

Website: www.penelopemarzec.com

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/penelopemarzec

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Penelope-Marzec/e/B002BLQGA4

Latest book release: https://www.amazon.com/Clear-Ice-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSXW85Q

Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Extravaganza Book Reviews

I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mom doesn’t usually want me playing on her computer. She’s afraid I’ll post something embarrassing on Facebook as if I could do better than she does with that?

Next week three fabulous Christmas novellas are releasing and they are already available for preorder so get yours now!. Well, to be honest, there are more, but these are the only three I’m personally acquainted with, and since mom is so nice, I’m even including hers on this list.

Clear As Ice by Penelope Marzec

Marzec takes Haylie, a former Olympic ice skater with a stalker and a fear of dogs and matches her up with Ethan, a paramedic with serious issues with Christmas and God. The dog, Rufus, is the real star of this story as he is the ultimate matchmaker for these two. This immediately gains it five bones in my book, because I’m pro-dog because I am a dog. Haylie is afraid of relationships but finds that the handsome paramedic keeps showing up in her life, mostly because of his dog. Can Ethan break down the barriers to her heart and can Haylie help restore his faith in God and the wonder of Christmas in his?

Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

Leah Hane’s is without roots. She finds a job working as a cook at the Rocking J Ranch in Crazy Creek, Wyoming. This ragtag bunch of cowboys need more than good meals though. She quickly finds herself needed and helping them in a variety of ways as they strive to save the ranch from being sold.

Noel Johnsen is the legitimate heir to the property, or so he thinks. His family was lost in a horrific accident and Christmas brings up bad memories of that loss. He wants to ditch his family’s homestead but his brother-in-law who had been running the place is reluctant and the new cook they hired keeps butting her nose in where it’s not wanted. Soon more than the land is at stake…but his heart as well.

I love this ranch story. I love the outdoors and running around outside so I was for them keeping the ranch. You’ll have to read the story to find out what they do. I loved it.

Sugar Cookies and Street Lamps by Susan M. Baganz

A young woman, Noelle, hates Christmas and is paired up with an investment advisor in creating a magical gala for his company. He loves Christmas and soon finds himself attracted to the woman he’s helping out in creating his companie’s big holiday event.

Boy do I know about Wisconsin winters. I love the snow and we’ve already had plenty for me to jump around it. Mom thinks it’s funny becuase I can’t stand rain, or a bath. Regardless, this Christmas romance is sweet and mom included the family sugar cookie recipe at the end and I personally can vouch for how tasty those are.

My perspective:

All of these stories are worthy reads, so get them now and then do your dog a favor and snuggle up with them for a good Christmas reading time, hot chocolate optional. I give each story five bones, because I’m a dog and and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Hoping for Joy (Book Review)

51sbsfx7llPrism Book Group has released another book in their “Love is…” series of romances based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Hoping for Joy by Penelope Marzec is about love always hoping.

Hannah isn’t your typical blushing bride-to-be. She’s beginning to wonder whether her fiance will ever marry her. He’s preoccupied with helping his father care for his niece, Joy and keeping Joy’s mother, his sister, out of jail as she repeatedly gets in trouble with her addictions.

While Hannah understands the challenges he’s facing, she’s feeling a tad neglected and as if she’s not important to him. He’s not even a believer.

Logan is overwhelmed with responsibilities and really doesn’t think of his fiancee all that much until she’s attacked and almost killed by his sister during a robbery. But how can he balance the needs of Hannah with those of a little girl, a lost sister and a father who’s health is failing. How can he salvage his relationship with Hannah in the midst of all that?

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

This is a story of lost hopes and dreams giving birth to new ones and as a dog, I adore children so little Joy was my favorite part. That and she has the same name as someone in my house! A romantic suspense that will warm your heart. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t do stars.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Speaks: Cowboy Christmas Novellas (Book Reviews)

Prism Book Group is releasing several Christmas novellas about cowboys–just in time for the holidays! Since they all release today, I had no choice but to give them to you all in one post.

A Love Valley Christmas

Mary Ball has written a sweet story of love and faith with A Love Valley Christmas. Susie Aleman is a widow running a mercantile in Love Valley called Spurs. When she’s not working she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. Life is comfortable with her work, friends, and faith. When newcomer Ty Porter strolls into her store Susie’s heart beats faster.

Ty’s not looking for a love connection. He’s made his mistakes in his past and faith isn’t something he understands. But it’s just possible that Christmas, a sweet woman, and her son might just hold the life he’s been searching for.

When Susie Aleman isn’t running Spurs, a mercantile in Love Valley, she’s raising her sixteen-year-old son, Zam. She’s content with life and relies on no one but God. Then Ty Porter moves to Love Valley and stampedes into her heart.

This isn’t your young love story – but is a sweet tale of reluctant love over the holiday season.

Crazy Woman Christmas

In Crazy Woman Christmas, author Renee Blare brings us a unique Christmas tale. Bianca Kolceski has made her share of mistakes and after running away from her parents in shame. Having turned her life around, she’s finally decided to return home to Texas for Christmas. A blizzard in Wyoming forces her off the road.

Devon Dawson doesn’t do Christmas as he grieves the loss of his parents. The cowboy is on his way home to hunker down during the storm when he spies a little car buried in the snow. Helping out Bianca he has no other option than to take her to his ranch.

Life is hard in the blizzard and two strangers with painful pasts learn about faith and love during the Christmas season.

 

 

Hats Off!

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Nancy Bolton has given us a wonderful story in Hats Off. This cover is different from the others because it is historical taking place in Oregon in the 1920’s. Kay, a widow, has moved there to be with her brother and his wife. She works making shirts and the lining for custom hats. She’d known love once but could there be a second chance for her?

Aaron is a quiet man who does his job but one night gets drunk and is discovered by Kay who gets her brother Philip to care for the man. He intrigues her in their fiew shy interactions. She steps out and tries new things including challenging the quiet man with his own dark past. Their brief interactions ignite sparks quickly.

Love bloom in the cold of winter as both learn that sometimes, hope at Christmas, is a powerful thing if one is willing to reach for it.

 

Hill Country Homecoming 

61-yqchy2zlJulie Cosgrove’s latest release is a Texas story that takes place in Hill Country Homecoming. Sarah Mansfield is used to living large on her daddy’s dime. The only reason she’s returning home to the ranch is for the annual holiday party and announce her engagement to a rich man, Trey Simpson. The down side is having to see her father’s ranch manager, Travis Wallace, a guy who she sees as a loser. As her dreams are about to come true a harsh reality snatches it all away as responsibility for the ranch falls to her.

Travis sees the beautiful Sarah as beautiful but impossible. But when push comes to shove her perseverance in learning the ranch business begins to earn his respect. As he answers questions about the true meaning of Christmas, he begins to wonder if Sarah might not be the girl for him after all. But only a miracle will convince him of that.

A Christmas love triangle filled with suspense, faith and love.

Mixed-Up Christmas

61fixigogxlDixie Jo Jarchow gives us a sweet tale in Mixed-Up Christmas. Mix Malone is done riding bulls. He’s broken too many bones, suffered too many head injuries to ride anymore in spite of the fame and fortune it has provided for him and his family. He pulls into town in the middle of a snow storm and stops at the Outlaw Cafe.

Blossom Deavers isn’t quite sure what to do with the beaten up cowboy who passes out in her empty cafe. When his family begins to threaten him as she simply befriends the cowboy and listens to his own dreams as hers are falling apart, she decides maybe it is time to move on. Christmas isn’t about dreams anyway, is it?

This is a story about broken dreams, broken families and the hope of Christmas and courage.

 

The Cowboy’s Miracle

61mwix1nxqlPenelope Marzec brings us The Cowboy’s Miracle. Rodeo star and veterinarian, Seth Holmes is running from men who are hunting him down, due to his father’s crimes. He searches for a home that might belong to grandparents he didn’t know he had but instead finds Gariella Cavallo.

Gabriella has been living on the farm of a woman who had been like a grandmother other and Seth threatens to upset the security of her future in raising alpacas, managing a greenhouse and carriage house that she rents out.

When someone targets the alpacas, Seth’s veterinarian skills come in handy. But can Seth penetrate the wall of fear around Gabriella’s heart while protecting her from those who are pursuing him?

Love, suspense, and alpacas. A great Christmas read.

If you like novellas with cowboys during the holidays, any and all of these novellas will fit the bill. I give each one five bones because I’m a dog, and that’s how I roll. 5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

Patriot’s Pride (Book Review)

Patriot's pridePatriot’s Pride is author Penelope Marzec’s fabulous sequel to Patriot’s Heart

It is now post war and America is a free nation, but Margaret needs to travel to England for the reading of her grandfather’s will. Although they never knew the Earl of Bancroft, she is eager to learn more of her mother. And she carries with her a deep grief. As a simple baker who clings to her faith, she learned healing arts through the struggles of war.  Confronted with the puffed up consequence of Doctor Fortune aboard ship, attraction and conflict over their opposing belief systems keep them at odds.

Dr. Derrick Fortune can’t understand why anyone would doubt science but even he struggles with the cost of his limitations in understanding how to heal the human body. On ship to further his education as well as to hopefully heal his wounded soul, the feisty milkmaid fights and tempts him at every turn.

Tragedy forces them to band together to ensure the successful conclusion to their trip and in spite of their differences they form a bond that continues once they dock on England. But can the Earl’s granddaughter ever really love a man like Derrick? And could Derrick ever humble himself enough to recognize that God is the greatest healer of our hearts and win the hand of Margaret?

This tale is filled with adventure and conflict and woven well with history. The high seas and British society challenge both characters to grow in ways they never imagined and a far greater gift awaits both Margaret and Derrick. Faith is handled well and it is fun to see Margaret, a secondary character in Patriot’s Heart, get her own story and see her lost dreams redeemed in surprising ways.

Confessions of a Newbie Editor

A year ago I took a step of faith and became part of the Prism Book Group team, taking on the role of Acquisitions Editor. This article is not an attempt to brag, but more of a confession of sorts. prism logo

Lessons: I had never been an editor before, so there was a learning curve. Here is some of what I learned:

  • I discovered how much fear held me back until I had to push against deadlines to make sure my authors had books ready for publication.
  • I relished how good it feels to give an author that contract – and to celebrate with them when their dreams are in print for the world to read. 
  • I’ve developed a way of giving rejections that takes some of the sting out and helps writers grow. I may not contract them but I do still care. This was the scariest part of taking the job. I still don’t like to do it but at least I don’t crush dreams (or try not to).
  • I delight in encouraging authors at conferences.  

People. All the highlights this past year have shown up in the form of relationships:  

Lisa Lickel is the person who passed along the job opportunity with Prism. At first I couldn’t believe it. You think I could do what? But I asked friends, took a test (and passed) and prayed about it. Then I took the plunge and have not regretted it. She became the first author (in a group of four) that I signed. She protested, “I didn’t tell you to get the job so you would publish me!” I’m glad I did, as Brave New Century was a huge revelation. I worked with four different authors and stories all at once. Do you know how intimidating it was to edit an editor’s work as well as when she is a dear friend? She must not have minded Prism at all as she just came out with another novel, The Last Detail, in January. Because it wasn’t a strict romance, fellow editor Marcy Dyer did the honors of working on that book.

Anita Klumpers entrusted her debut novel to me and worked her butt off with such cheerfulness. Anything I threw at her she took and was grateful. Her attitude was such a bolster to me and a bit frightening. Sure. She had never been through this process before. But neither had I. Her novel was released on January 22nd. Just coming up the the title, Winter Watch, with her was an adventure in and of itself. I loved every minute.

Daisy Jerico also entrusted me with her fun novella and delivered the best pitch I ever heard to date. She talked like she loved her characters and she was telling the story of something that happened to a close friend. The Love Thief ebook has done well and if you want sassy and suspenseful romance – that book is pure delight. I must not have done too bad with her as she signed with me again. Sparks Fly is due out in July. Oh, and we’ve had coffee together and both emerged victorious during 2013’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Paula Mowery was part of an anthology I had contracted and became interested in doing my job. Well, not my job, but the same position. There’s plenty of great fiction to go around! I have now worked with her on not one – but two books! Brave New Century released in November of 2013 and Love and Legacy released March 19, 2014.

Jacqueline Hopper is another Acquisitions Editor at Prism Book Group and an author in her own right. She has been a great support and willing to answer all kinds of questions to the newbie on the block. She helps with scheduling reviews and making teasers and trailers for our books. (Check out her novella The Gingerbread House!)

I also had the honor of working a repeat Prism author, Penelope Marzec on her book Patriot’s Heart which released in February.

Finally, I have to mention Joan Alley, the owner, and Editor-in-Chief of Prism Book Group. She was willing to take a chance on me and I am grateful she did as I have learned so much in the process about writing, about speaking, and about myself.

I’ll be honest. I did this as a way to earn a little income while waiting for my own books to come to print.

I gained something far more valuable in the process, and I am grateful.

Patriot’s Heart (Book Review)

PatriotsHeart_eBookPatriot’s Heart is a gripping historical romance by author, Penelope Marzec. Agnes has taken over the blacksmith shop while her father has gone to fight with the Continental Army. Going into the barn the day after the Battle of Monmouth she finds a man, one of the British, seriously wounded. While he is the enemy her heart will not let her condemn him to death with the Patriots. She vows to help the handsome man regain his heath and as he recovers they tell everyone the lie that he is a cousin from England who came to visit.

Edwin is not just a soldier. He is also the runaway son of the Duke of Dalfour. He was on a mission to deliver a message when he was shot by the enemy. He has no idea how he came to be in the barn or where his horse has gone. He goes along with Agnes’s lie to buy time to heal and perhaps spy on the colonists.

As they encounter challenges wrought by the war, they both start to fall in love. the only problem is Edwin will leave when he is well enough and Agnes will once again be alone. When Loyalists capture Agnes’s sister, Edwin vows to bring her back by returning to the British encampment. He hopes they won’t hang him as a deserter. 

Agnes struggles with her feelings for the this man and his own personal struggle from independence from an overbearing father. Will war tear his budding relationship with Agnes apart or draw them together? Could Edwin give up a title and a life of relatives ease to take up the Patriot’s cause and a life of struggle and hardship as a price for independence? Could sworn enemies become more?

This tightly woven novel is written with plenty of conflict and characters who surprised me. The hardships faced as the United States America first took its stand for independence was fraught with hardship and trial and yet love as well. Penelope does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story, into history, so we can experience what that struggle might have been like. It’s not all heavy war either, there’s some fun stuff thrown in as well that will make you smile.