Sunday, March 30, 2014

Divine Appointments by Kathy Penney

Kathy Penney is a lady who doesn’t like to miss appointments--particularly those in the Divine category!

In this pull-no-punches book that is a combination of memoir, true confessions, inspiration and evangelism guide, Penney walks us through some incredibly tough times of her life and offers a ray of hope based on her own redemption through a personal choice to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

As a survivor of a near-fatal assault, a victim of rape and someone who chose abortion as a way out on four occasions, Kathy has dedicated her life to giving and receiving grace and forgiveness and to serving God and helping others who are brought into her path to hear her story and learn that there is a living God who loves them, believes they are special and has a plan for their lives.

Divine Appointments: Are YOU Ready for Them? offers encouragement for everyone, emphasizing that most people (at one time or another) make mistakes, poor decisions, desperate choices and that sometimes we are so caught up in our own nebulous existence, that our kids suffer from our lousy parenting skills and misguided priorities.

Reading Divine Appointments reminds me about the power of prayer. When people share their problems and health concerns with me, I always try to respond that I will keep them in my prayers or that I will add them to my prayer list, which I am faithful to do.  I realized that I don’t practice offering to pray for them right there on the spot, praying over them and serving as that conduit of God’s love, grace and power to those in need. Perhaps immediate prayer, rather than being placed on a prayer list with tons of other requests, is the way they would benefit most at that particular moment. It occurred to me that it is always appreciated and comforting to know that someone is praying on your behalf, but actually hearing them say that prayer is a special blessing. Lesson learned and point taken.

Kathy Penney bares her soul to the reader, sharing her insightful poetry, as well as her personal defeats and victories. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat her story, but lays it all out there--the good, the bad and the ugly--along with an enthusiastic message of joy and hope. Complete with supporting scripture verses and even a daily checklist of important tips, Divine Appointments: Are YOU Ready For Them? will take you from your own comfort zone and gently shift you in the direction of thinking about others and their needs.

The takeaway for me is that we are born with an opportunity to enjoy an ongoing relationship through Jesus Christ with the Almighty God, Creator of the entire universe. Some folks rejoice in this, some postpone it and others completely reject Him or feel that faith has no relevance or significance in their lives. As believers, we know without doubt that God orchestrates circumstances to connect us with people in various stages of a spiritual journey--some to guide us and some we should be helping. Divine Appointments offers multiple examples of situations where the author could have ignored that quiet voice that prompts us, and someone’s life and/or situation would have taken a completely different, drastically negative turn.

Divine Appointments. Are you prepared to show up and deliver? Will you step up to the plate and give someone the spiritual guidance they so desperately need…even if they aren’t very likeable and you feel as though you have nothing in common with them? Kathy Penney does.

Book Description

Do you think you need to have the gift of evangelism to share the Gospel? Many Christians love to do different ministries. You may be gifted in teaching Sunday school, sending cards of encouragement, praying for people’s needs or helping in your Church. The body of Christ needs all of the above but people need to know Jesus loves them. I would like to show you how God prepares the hearts and minds of his children to hear the Good News! This book will give you examples of how He will direct your paths. Want to hear about God’s miracles? YOU can be ready to be one of His missionaries and experience the joy He will give you as you enter into His Divine Appointments!

In the Author’s Own Words

“This book was written to give hope and healing through Jesus Christ. My journey was difficult. I was released from a locked up ward at age 39 with no hope.  I, myself, was a Divine Appointment when I was told that someone loved me and had a wonderful plan for my life.  The Divine Appointment was with Jesus.  Jesus then met my daughter Kerri, 23, and delivered her in an instant of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and suicidal feelings.  My son Joey, 28, was the next one Jesus met with, and Joey is now 8 years heroin free!”
About the Author

Kathy Penney is a women’s Bible study leader, Christian speaker, advocate for victims of violence, women’s mentor, writer of Christian poetry and is an oak of righteousness for the display of His splendor. Kathy has appeared on twenty-two national television shows on victimization. She started the Rap Not Rape college program for women.
Kathy Penney
Connect with Kathy Penney through her Website at:

Email at:

Divine Appointments is available through connecting with Kathy on her Website or online at Xulon Press, Barnes & Noble and

Learn more about Beach Author Network writers and their books at:

See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jekyll Island by Faye Bradley

Jane and Frank live in distinctly different worlds that are ordinarily separated by a ravine as deep as the Grand Canyon and as volatile as the San Andreas fault.

Jane had known only the privileges inherent in being a wealthy New York City debutante of Astor lineage, while Frank was a personable, hard-working young man whose love of Big Band music and adventurous spirit would bring he and his friend, Gene, to seasonal jobs at a private resort for the rich and famous.

The warmer winter climate and exclusivity compelled the ultra-elite to Jekyll Island, a scenic location off the Georgia coast. Now many people don’t realize that there is a 100 mile stretch of Georgia coast line and four barrier islands just adjacent to Brunswick, Ga. Those islands are St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Golden Isles and Jekyll Island. So Jekyll Island is not a fictitious setting, but is actually a National Historic Landmark consisting of 5,700 acres and is the smallest of the four barrier islands noted above.

I anxiously awaited the publication and acquisition of a copy of Jekyll Island because I’ve actually been there.  A few years ago, I was attending a conference at The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia and eagerly toured St. Simons and Jekyll with some friends. One stroll around the grounds of the Jekyll Island Club immediately gives one the sense that this is a magical location, exploding with history. If the walls could only spew forth their amazing stories. Who hasn’t toured such an upscale resort and wondered what it would be like to spend months at a time in such a heavenly destination? Consequently, I was already a fan of this location and appreciated that such a serene locale was the chosen setting for this historical novel.

This is a sweet, squeaky clean love story of two young people who would fight the “rules” in order to be together. They could only see their respective positive qualities rather than measuring worth by the size of their bank accounts. Frank was neither a gigolo nor a player. He was respectful and willing to devote his life to working hard to make Jane happy, while Jane couldn’t envision her life without him and would risk alienating her own family just to be with him.

On the rare occasions that I read a novel which is written in the present tense, it tends to make me feel as though I am examining an actual screenplay. Sometimes this makes me uncomfortable, but as the book progressed, I was able to adjust to this style because I so thoroughly enjoyed the story. As I read various descriptions of the island, I could easily visualize the tranquil scenery and surroundings, and I was transfixed until I could reach the ending to see how the conflicts were resolved. This book is a wonderful example of isolating a particular era (1930’s) and filling in the blanks of history to allow the period to burst with life.

Most importantly, Jekyll Island reminds us that although riches bring perks that others may never even begin to imagine, it is a fact that being blessed with large sums of money does not guarantee happiness and fulfillment. Those attributes must come from within, a reality that is so beautifully demonstrated by this delightful, entertaining book.

Book Description

Discover this uplifting story of life and love set against the backdrop of the birth of Big Bands and Swing Dancing in 1930's New York City - and on a beautiful barrier island off the coast of Georgia from which the book gets it name. Come discover how young Frank and Gene escape the harsh realities of the Great Depression into the music and dancing of the day, finding fun and adventure as they refuse to let life pass them by!

In the Author’s Own Words

“I always wanted to try my hand at writing. Wanting to be a journalist from the time I was in high school, I always had an ‘itch’ to write. Now, after living quite an interesting life, I finally decided to ‘pick up a pen.’ 

My son wrote the screenplay, Jekyll Island, a story told to him by a family friend, an older gentleman who lived through the depression and worked on Jekyll Island, GA during the Big Band era of swing dancing.  I borrowed this screenplay and wrote the novel around it.  It is full of history that triggers memories from the past and teaches new facts as the book quickly moves along.”

About the Author

Faye Bradley lives in South Carolina with her husband Wilson, and their Yorkie, ‘Lil Sugar.’ Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware as a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends), she is the mother of four Eagle Scout sons and sixteen grandchildren. Familiar with raising boys, she was very active with the Boy Scouts of America, receiving the distinguished Silver Beaver Award in 1978. She taught swimming and life saving for over thirty years for the American Red Cross and enjoyed swimming, scuba diving and snow skiing. Faye loves life – and also loves to read.

This is her first attempt at writing a novel, and we think you will be pleased. Trying to capture the exciting era of the birth of Big Bands and Swing Dancing (right after the Stock Market Crash and repeal of Prohibition), this story reads like a fun history lesson.  It is based upon the real-life story of one of Faye's mother's best friends, and allows the fictional elements to hold it together in a way that lets the reader live, laugh and love as they enjoy a step back in time.

As an author who is a Christian, she dedicated this to you, if you are nine or ninety-nine. This book will hopefully bring the era to life.

Most of Faye's time now is invested in enjoying her service in the United Methodist Women's organization, spending time with family, friends, or her favorite little constant companion, ‘Lil Sugar,’ who has an ever-optimistic personality.

To purchase Jekyll Island online, visit Barnes & Noble at or

Connect with Faye Bradley on Facebook:

And by email at:

Visit to learn more about our member authors who write and reside along the South Carolina coast.

See you in just a couple of weeks with another selection!

Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

In Your Eyes by L. Thomas-Cook

I approached reading In Your Eyes with a mild case of apprehension, as I was advised in advance about its subject matter.

In this story, we have two highly reputable and respected police detectives, Jay and Sonny. As partners and best friends, they perpetually have each others' backs. To the world, they are perfectly matched co-workers, but they are actually living an enormous lie. In the ultra-macho setting of law enforcement, these two cops are not merely roommates--they have become lovers.

Now, before you run away screaming and predetermine a negative evaluation of this story, let’s chat. Some would ask, “What’s the big deal? Zillions of people are coming out of the closet--celebrities, politicians, your next door neighbor. This has become perfectly common in prime time network television. Viewers are inundated with gay characters, I believe the goal being an attempt to expand the minds of the general public to become desensitized to the inclusion of gay family members and friends into mainstream television. It is a movement to bring normalcy to having a homosexual lifestyle. I know personally from just listening to young family members that kids are deciding at younger and younger ages that they are gay, and I believe that this is partially due to the overexposure of a gay lifestyle in television shows. They haven’t even had time to grow to learn who they are and about their sexuality, and they are deciding they are gay. I have deep concerns about that.

Some folks remain steadfast in their beliefs and Christian upbringing on this topic and say, “If God intended people to be gay, He would have put Adam and Joe in the Garden of Eden instead of Adam and Eve.” And I totally get this point of view. Therefore, I must admit that I tended to skip over some of the more “romantic” scenes between Jay and Sonny. I found myself wishing it was the same story only Jay and Suzie, co-workers trying to hide their relationship from the rest of the police force. That’s just me.

 I felt that Thomas-Cook’s story-weaving skills prevailed, however, as I was far more interested in the captivating narrative rather than what was happening in the sheets. Most of the amorous scenes were far more tastefully written than some that I have encountered in many mainstream novels.

It was intriguing to witness the complexity of Jay & Sonny’s relationship. From Sonny’s struggle to identify his sexuality to Jay’s insistence on their love remaining deeply undercover (sorry!), the reader can easily sympathize with their plight. No way would the guys on the force tolerate these two tough cops smooching and cuddling, loving and touching each other.

The book heightens my curiosity about whether being gay is 1) a choice, 2) learned behavior or 3) a genetic predisposition. It begs the question: If being gay is strictly a choice, why would anyone deliberately and knowingly opt for a lifestyle that potentially alienates families, rips open the seams of churches and denominational theology and even in this decade of alleged tolerance, guarantees disapproval and animosity from many?

In Your Eyes demonstrates the complications of Jay and Sonny’s precarious social and medical standing when Sonny is seriously injured in an accident. As merely “friends,” Jay has no legal rights to make medical decisions for Sonny. This story keeps the reader anxious to know the outcome, and whether or not you believe in gay rights, you want the best for these two sensitive, likeable guys.

One cannot deny that this story pulls the reader into a better understanding of what the gay community faces. And I believe that God loves everyone, but doesn’t necessarily love our behavior whether we are gay or straight. It isn’t my place to be judgmental because there is ultimately one Holy Judge in the end, and that isn’t me.

Book Description

Undercover detective Sonny Santini is handsome, sexy, and charming. Detective Jay Jamison is tall, blond, and sensible. Together they make a great team working in one of the most dangerous cities in Florida during the early 1980s. On duty and up against some ruthless criminals, they are loyal partners dedicated to each other. Off duty, that dedication also includes protecting a private secret about their true relationship. Jay, who for years was conflicted about his feelings for Sonny, one day finally finds the courage to tell the attractive man the truth. After that, they create a life that works for them and with that life comes a promise that no matter what, they will keep the love they share private and then...a near fatal accident destroys it all.

Sonny is the love of Jay's life but once Sonny comes out of the coma, he no longer has any memory of his life or connections to those around him. Jay stands by Sonny's side even through the agony of learning his partner has irreversible brain damage. Jay is left alone with no one to confide in and a choice to maintain the secret about him and Sonny guarding it even from Sonny.

How long can Jay keep up the charade? Sonny is vulnerable, reckless, and lost. He's confused over right and wrong and when a seductive woman sets her sights on Sonny and preys on his innocence, Jay is desperate to do what's best for his partner. But what is best? To keep the secret and risk losing Sonny or tell him the truth and risk losing even more?
Words from the Author

“I was born and raised in upstate New York. Growing up and being educated in New York was nice, but enough with the winters already. So I decided in 2011 to move down south along the Grand Strand of South Carolina. The ocean air and live oaks were inspiring and the old itch to write kicked in. Actually, the itch never left. I have been writing since forever but now that the family is grown, I have the time to really practice the craft. A big fan of suspense, cop shows, romance, and human rights, I decided to combine those things and created the Santini & Jamison series. I also enjoy the paranormal and have written some stories on that as well. Along with my writing, I am a nature photographer, animal lover, beach walker, and history nut. I love to write rich character driven stories with just the right amount of anguish, conflict, and edginess to keep it interesting.”

The Writing of In Your Eyes per L. Thomas-Cook

“I came up with the idea of two men, in love with one another, who would keep the secret of their love even as the odds mounted. People ask me why I chose that story line. Well, I have always been an advocate of people's rights and there is no right more precious than the right to love who you want the way you want. I am also big into anguish. In fact, some have called me the 'Queen of Anguish.' Well, can you think of better anguish than loving someone that many people in the world say is wrong? Plus, let's face it, two very hot men is a turn on and I don't want to compete with another woman. I don't know the psychological reasons why women of a (cough) certain age find gay men intriguing, I just know that many of the audience for shows like Queer As Folk and story lines in some of the soap operas have drawn a significant female population. Okay, I'm going to say it...there is a certain sexuality to it that is erotic. Add that in with a great love story and I think you've got a nice mix.
I don't just write gay love stories. I write suspense romance, psychological thrillers, and science fiction (if you put the paranormal in that category.) What can I say? I have a thing for murder, conflict, and ghosts. I also like dark, edgy stories that read like a roller coaster ride with unexpected turns and twists.”

More About L. Thomas-Cook

Regarding living here along the South Carolina Grand Strand she said, “Close to the ocean and the marsh, nature surrounds me. I truly believe it's as close to heaven as I can get on earth.

I live here with my oh so terrific husband, a man who must be a saint not to have killed me yet, and our best little friend, a dog named Sonny.”

Thomas-Cook is on the Board of Directors with the South Carolina Writers Workshop. She is also on the board of the Murrells Inlet Community Theatre, where she has been Stage Manager, Producer and Technical Director.

Visit the L. Thomas-Cook website at  and see In Your Eyes at
See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!