Sunday, November 8, 2015

Honoring Our Veterans

I could talk about upcoming books and all that, but November 11 is Veterans Day. This week, I'm dedicating this blog page to honoring those who serve and have served our country. In my lifetime and being a post-WWII baby, I've known us to be involved in some way with a war in Korea, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq....and probably, in some way, in other wars around the world. War has remained distant, taking place on other shores, but has always been a fact in my lifetime. Always at a distance, until 9/11 when the horror of war was brought to our shores. I've had relatives and friends who served in many ways in the armed forces during war, both in active combat and here at home. I have friends whose names are etched in the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial. It was humbling to visit that wall and run my fingers over those names, realizing what those young, young men gave up for the freedom and security I enjoy.

I always knew my father, Dale R. Rettstatt, Jr., as a soldier. He served in WWII, bringing home with him two Purple Hearts and the remains of shrapnel in the back of his neck and head that gave him excruciating headaches at times. I looked at a picture of him as a young boy whose dream was to become a draftsman. (I still have a set of steel drawing instruments he used). And then I recall the man I knew, and I'm certain he brought back more than physical wounds. No one goes through a war unscathed. And, yet, he remained an active member of the Army Reserve until his death (which came early at fifty-nine.)

I often wondered what happened to that hopeful, smiling boy in the picture. Not that my dad didn't have a great smile and quick wit at times, but there was often something haunting in his eyes, too. Sobering. He never became a draftsman and I wonder if that dream died in the trenches of France.

I have such empathy for those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and for their families because they will forever be haunted by the horrors of war, even if they don't bear physical wounds. We need to take care of our returning heroes--and that's what they are. One definition I found of a hero is:  a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. "a war hero". All wounds are not visible and we owe these men and women our support.

This Veterans Day, let's pause to remember all of those men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom and our dedication to freedom for all people. Regardless of what you personally believe about war. Thank those Veterans who are still with us. Demand our government to take responsibility for the care of those who have returned from war, wounded and shattered and in need. Let's also make a promise to never stop trying to find a better way to bring about peace and preserve human dignity. This is what I learned from my father, a man who (I believe) was forever changed by his experience of war.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Something A Little Different - For Me

Those of you who have followed my writing for a while know that I'm not locked into one genre. I started with Women's Fiction and then ventured into writing Contemporary Romance. I've added in a dash of mystery, the paranormal, and suspense to that mix. My newest book, which will release on November 20, is an Inspirational Romance titled After the Fall.

And if you know my books well, you know that my titles often are metaphor for the story. After the Fall is the story of Molly Daniels and Chase Harrington. Both have experienced the falling apart of their lives. Chase, a police detective, vows to make changes to move on with his life, having lost his wife and teen-aged daughter two years earlier. Molly Daniels,a pediatric nurse, moves her fourteen-year-old daughter out of an abusive home in Chicago, returning to the Pittsburgh suburbs where she had spent her early years. Starting a new job and trying to ease her daughter's transition to a new school, Molly is sure things will be better--after the Fall.

The last thing Chase needs is an attractive women with a teen daughter moving in next door and dredging up so many memories. Molly finds it challenging to trust the handsome but often brooding neighbor. Faith is the one thing that has carried Chase through his nightmare losses. Molly has abandoned her faith when she felt betrayed and abandoned by her church. Despite their fears and hesitation, Molly and Chase are drawn together as he believes he might love again and she learns that some men--or at least this man--can be trusted..

You can pre-order After the Fall now at

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Sad Ending and A New Adventure

I just signed my name to accept the Reversion of Rights for my books published with Turquoise Morning Press which has closed its doors. It's sad to see this come to an end and, yet, I know it opens a new door for me. My books previously published with TMP will continue to be available as I shift them over to self-publishing.

I've been in this business now for more than ten years. I've seen many e-publishers and small presses come and go. I've heard the horror stories of authors whose rights have been tangled up in the closures. Some authors have had to resort to lawsuits to get their books returned to them.

Kim Jacobs is one class act and a business woman of the highest caliber. Even in this closing of the company, she has exhibited the utmost professionalism and integrity. Things are being done smoothly and with every consideration for the authors. If there's a right way to close a publishing house, she has found it.

I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank Kim for her support of my work for the past five years. And I want to thank the magnificent authors I got to meet and who will remain my colleagues and friends as we all find our way forward.

I wish Kim Jacobs only the very best in her own future endeavors as author. And I'm grateful for the people I've met during my journey with Turquoise Morning Press. You all have made me a better writer.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

...and then this happened.

We writers can easily fall into a funk. I'm not talking about writer's block. I'm talking about that questioning of why we do what we do. Book sales rise and fall and, when they fall, it's easy to begin to question the time and effort and the expense put into producing a book. When everything is quiet, sales are slow, no reviews are coming in, it's a challenge not to just put the laptop away and do something else. Of course, most of us can't do that. It would be like holding our breath until we pass out. I had a weekend of such questioning and decided I needed to call a family meeting. So I got us all together to remind myself of why I do what I do. Why do I invest so much time and energy and my own resources into putting out books? I looked at my website. My branding says, Writing for Women: Stories of strength, love, humor and hope. 

Well, there it is--why I write. Other than the fact that it's a passion that gives me much more than it demands. I write to give people hope. To bring a smile to someone. To make my readers feel--happy, sad, hopeful, not so much alone. I write to entertain. I write because--for as demanding and challenging as it can be--writing is a passion that is a constant for me. I sat down and began to browse through my books and then this happened:

Here we are at the family meeting. I'm so proud of all my children. And, yes, they did a great job of reminding why I write.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Finding the Real Thing

I'm not married. Have never been married. But I do know a little about relationships and, having worked for a time as a therapist providing couples counseling, I learned a lot more. One thing I know for sure: Marriage is not easy. In my new book, THE REAL THING, Jane and Mitch Devereaux have a nearly twenty-year marriage that is sorely tested by change. Writing as author Janelle DuMonde, Jane has been using her marriage and her husband to work out the finer points of her book plots. Mitch resents being used as a "sex slave-slash-model" for Janelle's heroes. He decides they need some time and distance between them; Jane is confused and terrified by his departure. But something keeps pulling them back to one another. Something won't allow them to just let go.

Jane and Mitch discover that sometimes love can be found in a most unexpected place -- right where you left it.

I hope you'll check out THE REAL THING, now available in ebook and trade paperback at

Friday, August 7, 2015

Being Your Own Best Friend

So, it's my birthday! Yay, me!!! And, no, I'm not telling which one. But if you go by the photo, you know I've been around a while. I like to think I'm old enough to know better and still young enough not to care.

I've had so many invitations from friends over this week, all wanting to celebrate this day with me. I'm so blessed with good and caring friends and so very grateful. Now some understand my decline of invitations on this particular day and some look a bit puzzled. I love to celebrate life with my friends. Just not ON my birthday. My tradition has long been to spend this day WITH myself. Not 'by myself' as some people suggested, saying that was not a good thing.

It took me a long time to grow into this person I am today, to get to know her, to accept her faults and failings and to acknowledge her gifts and talents. As narcissistic as this may sound, I like me and I enjoy spending time with me. I'll relax, reflect, offer thanks for this wonderful gift of life, remember losses and look ahead to the future. Most of all, I'll celebrate ME. No agenda, just options. No schedule, just time.

My wish for all of you is that you (if you haven't already) become your own best friend!

I'd like to celebrate today by giving something to others. To that end, I will give away AT LEAST five (maybe more) Audible copies of my Romantic Suspense novel, PROTECTION to the first people who comment on this post. You can check it out on and listen to a sample here:

Just click below and leave a comment about how you spend time WITH yourself. It's that simple. I'm off to play now. I'll check back in later and announce the winners. Oh, be sure you check back, too so you can send me your email addy if you win.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Reading and Driving? That can't be good.

Often people will ask me what I'm currently reading. I generally say, "Well, I reading (whatever I'm reading at the time) on my Kindle and I'm reading (something else) in the car." A few immediately 'get' what I'm saying, but many people gasp in horror. "You read while you drive?"

When I took a job that required nearly a one-hour drive each way, I discovered the value of audio books. I'd occasionally picked up an audio book when traveling, but it wasn't until the monotony of a daily drive back and forth on the same highway threatened to bore me out of my mind. Audio books not only break the boredom. Listening while driving gives me a chance to 'read' more books. As a writer, I need to stay tuned to what's being written by other authors and as a reader, I need to be entertained. I will admit that driving and listening to a book on CD is just about the extent of my multi-tasking abilities. On occasion, I've pulled into the parking lot at work and had to sit for at least five minutes to find out what was going to happen next. Once the receptionist came out to see if I was okay. 

Imagine my delight when I learned that I could have my own books recorded in audio without breaking my budget. My first self-published book, RESCUED, was released in audio in April of this year. PROTECTION, my romantic suspense, just came out on July 20. It was exciting to hear my words performed by Caroline McLaughlin (RESCUED) and Kevin Scollin (PROTECTION).

If you enjoy audio books, check them out here: