Beach Vacation 2016!

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us on beach 062016What an incredible week! Didn’t get much physical writing done, but what a great relaxing week.  ocean Isle 061916

Went to Ocean Isle for the first part – sat on the beach the first couple of days just to absorb it.

Ate at the pool bar the first night loving the breeze and the atmosphere. The resort served a full hot breakfast every morning as well and we took full advantage.

The wind came up the second day and after getting sand blasted for a while, came inside and worked on the jigsaw puzzle. Had great fresh seafood at Calabash, even enough to bring home for lunch the next day. Slept late, walked on the beach before it got hot and just vegged out.

vacation puzzleLeft on Thursday to visit relatives. Cousins Betsy and Peetie are in New Bern so headed up that way. Had a wonderful visit, caught up on their families – another great-grandchild coming in a couple of weeks for Peetie.

Darhon & Peetie 062116Me & Betsy 062116Then on Friday headed down to Charleston to visit with friends Kaye and Todd. They have remodeled their home and I adored it. She really needs to come decorate my place because I fall so far short of her skills. She is also the consummate hostess and we were pampered beyond belief.

Friday night we went on a catamaran cruise around Charleston Harbor. Talk about zen (until the thunderstorm came up at the last few minutes but we docked safely). Just the most peaceful time ever.

But Saturday night they took us to Theater 99 in Charleston – it’s improv and I was chosen to go up on stage to answer questions about myself for them to perform around for the show. Admitting that I wrote Romance Novels set them off – and they asked so many questions they had to cut the skits short! It was one of the biggest hoots I’ve ever had. They even introduced my Studmuffin hubby and told him how lucky he was! Have parts of it recorded, maybe Youtube?? LOL!  Thanks Brandy!

us at improv 062516    improv stage    me on stage 062316

Meet Ryan Jo Summers


Please say Hi! to another of my new friends from Soul Mate Publishing!

* You are going to be new to many of my readers. Tell us about yourself.

Well, I live in North Carolina, having moved here from Michigan in 2004. Like most all writers, I enjoy reading. I also love animals, quiet days (bonus if they’re rainy days) and trips to the river.

* Tell us about the book that’s just come out.  Upon the TIde

It’s called ‘Upon the Tide’ and it tells about a NY fashion designer who takes a vacation to Florida. While there, she ends up involved in a robbery, with a hunky ex-cop turned beach bum. From there, the action really begins. They escape to the Caribbean, sailing around various ports of call, risking danger—and falling in love—as paradise turns mysterious and deadly.

* What started you on your love of writing?

Probably my love of reading. I’ve always read, from earlies memory. I wrote my first ‘story’ at age ten. Then dabbled some as a teenager and young adult. I didn’t get serious about it until I hit my 20’s and got married. It began more with free-lance pieces pitched to magazines. However, it still took years to both break into the magazines for free-lance work and to land that first novel contract.

* Do you write in more than one genre – tell us a little about each one and the books you’re working on in each?CHASING THE PAINTED SKIES_200x300

Yes, predominately they are all romance at their root, but from there they grow in all kinds of directions. I like time travel and Christian the best, so ‘Shimmers of Stardust’ (published 2014) had both included. My first novel, “Whispers in her Heart”, was paranormal. Mystery tends to dominate my work, with “Upon the Tide”, “When Clouds Gather” (published 2014), and “Chasing the Painted Skies” which came out last year. Earlier this year I joined with another publisher and they put out a sweet novella called “Glimpse Eternity”. I had a spicy novella put out last November as part of a Christmas anthology collection. That was so spicy, it was difficult for me to write and certainly stretched me beyond my comfort zone.

GlimpseEternityFINALComing up, I have a young adult/new adult that is finished and I am pitching it to agents. I am nearly done with my first women’s fiction and will also pitch that to agents when it’s ready. My first romantic comedy is coming out next year, along with a Christian romance novel and another novella included in a food anthology. Like I said, all romances, but all very different. The four most different ones have been the Christmas collection, the novel “Chasing the Painted Skies”, the YA/NA with fantasy and the upcoming women’s fiction, also with other included elements. They’re like a big old smoothie tossed in a blender and set to pulse.

* Have you attended any writing conference or classes? Tell us about some that and some that have been especially helpful.

No I have not attended anything like that and I really don’t have any good excuse. I work full time, plus free-lance, plus write/promote/etc… Plus I pet sit. So it’s hard for me to find time or get away. Even close by ones require time off work. All that being said, I admit I should attend some conference or regular class.

I did go to a couple writing group meetings in the last few years. One I found the group to be quite large (30+) and older (retired with no day jobs), They also were not particularly friendly or welcoming. The meeting was unorganized and lacked structure. Since they meet when I normally work, it is unlikely I will be back. The second one was better. It’s smaller, more informal and has some structure and flow to it. My problem is it’s held in the morning only a few hours after I get to bed (drawback of working second shift) So I arrive very tired, and usually hungry. The premise is to read and critique each other’s work, which initially I found good. Instead it became a little more critical than I cared for.

* Are you a member of any writing groups? No, again for not good reason.  When Clouds Gather

* How attached do you get to your characters? Do you know what happens after the book ends?

Some of them I get very attached to. It’s quite common to hate to see the end of the story. Finishing it means having to say good bye. At least temporarily. My stories go through a cooling off period once I hit ‘the end’. Then months later they come back out and I start the edit process. After I’ve gone over them a few times, critically and carefully to find and correct all those terrible little errors, I can now draft a synopsis and query and start submissions. But by then I am deep into something else. However, some characters just stick with me. I have to believe the good ones go on to happy times and the bad guys get what’s coming to them. And it’s not uncommon for me to dream of my characters at night too, sometimes ones from a few books ago.

* Describe your ‘perfect’ writing day.

No interruptions! Not having to leave and go anywhere or go to work later. Not having the pets pester me for attention/food/whatever. Those are biggies. Beyond that, a blank canvas in which I can write with limited need to promo. Just write. I love writing but I need to work on social media, and it tends to strong arm my day. A perfect day is where I am not obligated to do anything but write and the creativity flows like an open valve.

* Could you tell us the one question you wish people would ask about your writing… and don’t forget the answer.

Q: Now that you have some experience as a professional writer with novels, novellas and free lance work, and more to come, do you have any regrets?
A: This is a long time dream of mine. When the first non-fiction articles came out in the late 2000’s and then my freshman novel “Whispers” debuted in 2012, I felt I’d just won the world. I remember thinking if nothing else happened beyond that point, I had made it and was so very happy! Well, so much has happened since then and I am loving it. Loving it! The only thing I would change would be to have taken it (writing career) more seriously before the novel was contracted. I wish I’d reached out to the writer community sooner than I had. I didn’t get involved with social media and publishing house loops until I signed with Soul Mate Publishing. I should have been ahead of that by a few years. Otherwise, this is one great journey and I am happy to be on it.

Bio  Ryan Jo Summers

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.


Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.


More about Ryan Jo can be discovered at her website,  or her blog


Special From Linda Bennett Pennell!


Two Soul Mate historical novels are on sale for 99¢!!  

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel is on sale for 99¢  May 20-May 27!  Al Capone

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

From Soul Mate Publishing:  Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel   –   Amazon

Take a look at the real Blanche Hotel and other actual locations featured in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel!

~ ~ ~

Confederado do Norte, 2015 Honorable Mention in the RONE Awards, is on sale for 99¢ May 27- June 3!!  confederado Northe

Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

October, 1866.

Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.

Confederado do Norte available from Amazon:  Amazon

See scenes from Brazil and other locations featured in  Confederado do Norte!


Linda shares this about herself: Linda Pennell

“I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, Let’s pretend.”

Linda resides in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.  Casablanca

Twitter: @LindaPennell


Inspiration in All The Strange Places


Hard to believe it’s been three years since Wraith’s Heart was released. I know this isn’t the time of year for a ghost story, but since ghosts don’t wait for Halloween, neither did I. WraithsHeart_finalCover smaller

These characters stuck with me as well. I even wrote a prequel to the story in the Defending Love anthology Rebel Ink put out last year about bullying and abuse. The story was Reunion and told the tale of Gail Duncan the night before she was murdered.

The idea for this book came from a dream my father had. In the dream he was on a lonely country road and drove up to a house. The older couple there greeted him and he realized he was there to tell them that they had passed away, because they didn’t realize it. The husband was belligerent and refused to believe Daddy, but the wife calmed him down and reminded him of how certain things were different now than they had been. She thanked Daddy and sent him on his way, then he woke up. I’ve remembered his dream for a long time and it set this story in motion. Everything is grist for the mill of a writer – right?

Have you had inspiration that came from unlikely places? (are there any likely places?) I’d love to hear about it. In honor of its birthday, I’ll be giving away a copy of the ebook for Wraith’s Heart – just leave a comment!

And for more paranormal – Another Time will be released in June and Before You will release in July – I’ve got your summer covered!

perf5.000x8.000.indd           Before-you-flat-med-reso

Meet MJ Compton!


MJ Compton is another author I met through Soul Mate Publishing – please tell  her hi!

* You are going to be new to many of my readers. Tell us about yourself.

I worked in local TV for thirty years, which meant I got to do a lot of fun stuff. A lot of tough stuff, too, but I prefer remembering the fun. I love to cook, watch baseball and college basketball, and enjoy exploring the world of wine. I would rather read than watch television. I am a complete introvert.

* Tell us about the book that’s just come out.  Omega Moon Rising cover.jpg

Omega Moon Rising is the third book in the Toke Lobo & the Pack series. Each book stands alone, so a reader doesn’t need to read the first two in order to understand what is going on. Toke Lobo & the Pack is a country band–the members of which happen to be werewolves. No, they don’t book gigs on the full moon. <J> The band also does some clandestine work for the US government on occasion.

Omega Moon Rising is the story of Luke Omega, who is the drummer for the band. He’s young, he’s brash, and he has a chip the size of the Rocky Mountains on his shoulder. His fascination with human sex lands him in trouble. By the end of the book, Luke becomes the werewolf he’s meant to be, but not without some snags along the way. The heroine, of course, is his biggest obstacle. But his pack also changes the way it regards him, and that is huge.

* What started you on your love of writing?

The stories. I loved listening to stories, sharing stories, creating my own stories. My Petticoat Junction paper dolls and my Barbie dolls were the perfect vehicles for my imagination. And I grew up in a different time—when after school and weekends weren’t filled with events. I lived next door to cousins, and we played. We dressed up and invented elaborate stories for ourselves. All of that unstructured time created space for our dreams.

I am also fascinated with language. I recall thinking while learning about pronouns and punctuation in the third grade, “I need to know this, because I am a writer.”

Summer Fling Cover* Do you write in more than one genre?

Yes—paranormal romantic suspense and contemporary sports romance. I guess I have a thing for men in packs—er, teams.

Tell us a little about each one and the books you’re working on in each?

The paranormal romantic suspense are werewolf books—the Toke Lobo & the Pack series. These werewolf/musicians periodically perform missions for the US government as part of the pack’s treaty—service for sanctuary. In each story, one of the band members finds his mate, who is somehow mixed up in whatever the government wants the werewolves to do.

I have one contemporary baseball romance published (Summer Fling). I am a baseball fan. Baseball is steeped in storytelling, especially the oral storytelling tradition. Mike Veeck said baseball is “all about renewal and second chances.” So is romance. Seems like a natural fit to me.

I’m currently prepping a second baseball romance for submission. I’m working on a romance involving another sport. I’ve written a lot of pages on the next installment of Toke Lobo & the Pack, but I need to rethink a few things. And my critique group is working on an anthology. My contribution is about a baseball-playing werewolf. Talk about a skill set!

* Have you attended any writing conference or classes? Tell us about some that and some that have been especially helpful.

I used to attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference on a somewhat regular basis, but it’s been a while since I’ve gone to one. I also attended the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference a couple of times. I loved going. I purchase the RWA workshop audio recordings. Listening to the workshops is as good as being there. I will binge-listen to a topic. Example: Synopsis writing. I’ll find every workshop on the topic that I own and load them onto my mp3 player, creating my own crash course with a panel of experts.

I am also fond of on-line workshops. Wish I had more time to devote to them, but it seems as if the ones I want to take are usually when I’m in crunch time with revisions.

* Are you a member of any writing groups?

I am a member of Romance Writers of America and of my local RWA chapter. The best birthday present I ever gave myself.

* How attached do you get to your characters? Do you know what happens after the book ends?

I don’t understand how an author can’t/won’t get attached to her characters. I have to tap into character emotions—make them my own—in order to portray them realistically on the page. So yes, I do get attached.

In the Toke Lobo & the Pack series, the heroes and heroines of previous stories play a part in the current book, so yes, I know what happens after the book ends. The heroine of the first book (Moonlight Serenade) was pregnant at the end of the story. You meet the baby in Omega Moon Rising.

* Describe your ‘perfect’ writing day.

Sunny and warm. Silent.

Seriously, any day the words flow is perfect. When seemingly disparate elements come together and one thinks, “Oh! That’s why I wrote that!” (I’m an organic writer as opposed to an organized writer.)

I attend as many writing retreats and writing weekends as I can because the creative energy zinging through the space occupied by a group of working authors is incredible.

Plus there’s always the added bonus of the guilt factor: you’re there to write, so . . . write!

* Could you tell us the one question you wish people would ask about your writing… and don’t forget the answer.

Is being an author fulfilling as you expected?

If writing didn’t fulfill me, I wouldn’t have kept at it for so many years. My brain is filled with stories. With characters. With curiosity. I hear something on the news and wonder if there is a way to spin that nuance into a book or a character. Embellish and twist reality to make my own. I need to write. Even after a hiatus (when my children were born and very young), returning felt as normal as breathing for me. Because, for me, writing is as normal as breathing.

Bio –  MJ Compton Author Photo

MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.

Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.

MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.

To get in touch –

Website & Blog  – Twitter  – Facebook  – Pinterest  – Tsu
Tumblr  – Goodreads  – Amazon Author Page:  – LinkedIn

Omega Moon Rising

One desperate woman intent on escape.
One brash werewolf determined to deny his DNA.
Until his destiny becomes her deliverance.

Abigail Grant has a secret . . . and a plan to keep her younger sister from suffering the same fate. Her strategy would have worked if she hadn’t been seduced by sweet-talking musician Luke Omega. Suddenly she’s plucked from the life she wanted to escape, but her new circumstances only expose her to a different danger—or is it her salvation?

Luke has a secret, too. He believes he can change his destiny through willpower—and a little blue pill. When he inadvertently gets mixed up in the Grant sisters’ troubles and his pack alpha orders him to marry Abigail, his family insists he tell her he’s a werewolf. But Luke claims Abigail is not his life mate. She doesn’t need to know what happens to him on the full moon.

Until he accidentally stumbles across her secret. Then all bets are off.

Summer Fling

Caroline Maplethorpe’s respectable life is threatened when the man who shared her secret past as a plaything to a minor league baseball team reappears with demands she’s not sure she can satisfy.

Caroline Maplethorpe spent a summer as plaything for a minor league baseball team…and oh, how Win Winston played. Seven years later, she’s respectable, and he’s in the big leagues. Now that he’s found her again, he still wants her in a major way. But their second-chance relationship attracts too much publicity and their long-ago fling threatens to destroy the respectable life Caroline so carefully reconstructed after that crazy summer













Also check out –

And Jericho Burned             Moonlight Serenade

Cover Reveal! – Before You



When Jocelyn decides to take a two-week vacation away from the chaos of the city and work, she expects to just relax and enjoy. Instead, after taking an impromptu exit off the highway the car quits and she’s stuck in some Podunk town in nowhere North Carolina. But the scenery is great – especially the guy who tows in her car.

Noah is helping his cousin out for the afternoon at the garage and is more than pleasantly surprised when the city girl shows up needing help. More help than either realizes.

Neither can foresee what drew her to that exit or what they will uncover trying to discover what has her terrified in the woods behind his home. But they will do it, together.


I decided to create a Pinterest page of inspirations for this story – you’re welcome to visit!  Before You

It’s Been a Year!


Yep, retirement is still everything I always hoped it would be. I consider it one of the top decisions I ever made, with marrying Hubby #1. Of course, I had a plan and I followed it. Retirement pic 1

I got my dream – to write full time. And it has been all I thought it would be. I’ve self-published three books and sold one to Soul Mate Publishing. I’ve got a couple others in various states of completion.

After a year I admit it’s even now a thrill to get up and not have to go anywhere or get “dressed.” I swim for 30 minutes, then head to my office. The working atmosphere is really great, no one to annoy me or interrupt me and I get so much more done.

Hubby will retire on the first anniversary of my retirement and that’s going to add a whole new dimension to things but I think my routine is pretty well set. From 7 a.m. to Noon, stay out of my way – that’s when I hibernate in my office and write.

retirement piic 2 But other things get to happen now as well – we go visit the Grandkidlet every 6-8 weeks. Just walk out the door and go and not have to worry about getting back at any specific time or day. I continue to clean out the house so I don’t leave my kids what my parents left me (remember that process turned into a novel – Homecoming).

I know I was lucky – very supportive hubby, pension, and so far, health. My mother worked until she was 80 – not that she had to, she wanted to and she did sleep with the boss for 55 years. That isn’t me. I wanted out, wanted time to do something for me and I do appreciate it. Thanks for celebrating this anniversary with me and I hope you continue to drop by!  happy birthday

To help with the celebration, (and make merry for my birthday) leave me a comment – that enters you into a chance to win a copy of your choice from my ebooks backlist!  Book List

Alien Embrace Cover 5 copy  Rth Rising final by RS 103115 copy  Rth Claimed final cover  Melting trilogy box set close up

AND – Don’t forget to also comment on the April Again blog for the boxes of books I’m giving away to downsize!!