Monday, April 29, 2013

T. Allen Winn's Dark Thirty

We are introducing T. Allen Winn and Dark Thirty today, and this author is truly an interesting  and personable character in real life.

Winn's novel Dark Thirty exposes the torment that teenagers and younger children can experience at the whim of bullies.

After reading this book, I have come to the realization that there are three categories of students: bullies, bullied and the remainder and majority being apathetic and too self-absorbed to care about or take action against injustice.

No youngster should have to attend school in fear of pain and/or humiliation, and Dark Thirty’s protagonist, Dale, is anticipating both as he counts down to the first day in a new school after relocating with his parents to Charlotte. He has been the object of cruel bullying before and fully expects to receive the same treatment at his new school.

Following their move, before the boxes are even unpacked, Dale’s family infrastructure begins to rapidly crumble before his eyes, and he must face his paralyzing fear of darkness. Amazingly, he meets a friend and neighbor, Debra, who seems to be able to relate to his fears. They both discover that bullying has progressed to a dangerous level in their community.

Dark Thirty will raise your awareness about this prevalent and disturbing issue. Are your children or grandchildren the bullies, the bullied or the apathetic? You won’t rest until you read the last page of this novel that deserves tremendous credit for successfully tackling this troubling and very real issue.

In the words of T. Allen Winn:

“Sixteen year old Dale Thomas Jackson wasn’t sure when the bullying had started, but what he did know is that it had never stopped. New town and a new school year assured only one thing--he’d have to break in a new batch of tormentors. Even he survived the bully by day, Dark Thirty waited for him at night. If darkness wins the tug of war, all will be lost. Dale faces this fear every day of his life and until now he has faced it alone.

Dale’s family moves to Charlotte, and a series of family tragedies leave him alone to fend for himself. He meets and befriends Ted Parker and Debra Floyd, and together they are pitted against a gang of ruthless bullies lead by Jake and the worst of the worst, Mack.

An anti-bullying movement is emerging, formed by Everett, possibly even darker and more sinister, posing a more ominous threat. Dale fears the dark and that adds yet another twist to the plot. One thing about bullying, you can’t pretty it up, so be prepared for the graphic side of what kids endure.

While fictitious, the thriller exposes the darker side of growing up and the vicious threats children must cope with to survive another day. Bullying is a serious issue and is no longer something as simple as name calling, a bloody nose or black eye delivered by a bully. Death has entered the scenario, and too often that punishment is delivered by the bullied taking their own lives.

Lesson: Know your children, talk to them and recognize the signs, bully or bullied. It may just save a life.”

About the author:

Tom lives with his wife in Pawleys Island and has a logjam of novels waiting their turn to see the light of day. He has also compiled over one hundred short stories. Follow T. Allen on Facebook, his blog at, and at,where he is a contributor of book reviews. Contact Tom at His books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, most any place books are sold on line, (just type in T. Allen Winn), locally at Harbor Walk books store in Georgetown, S.C., at Upton Girls in Abbeville, S.C. or by contacting Tom and requesting copies.

T. Allen Winn's Publishing Journey:  

Tom didn’t go the usual publishing route. A publisher, Bob O’Brien, instead showed up at his front door looking for the previous owner of the home Tom now occupies, wishing only to share his first published book with that person because they had shown an interest in writing a book. He realized that Tom is not the person he had expected to meet. At the time, Tom had ten completed manuscripts. The signs were too strong to ignore and his first novel, Road Rage, saw the light of day three months later, publishing it via O’Brien’s Prose Press. A friendship blossomed from that chance encounter. Dark Thirty followed five months later. Two new books, The Caregiver’s Son and Outside the Window Looking In, Tom’s memoir and the follow up novel to Road Rage, have now made their way into the publishing world.

     Tom says he is probably his own worst enemy, not sticking to a particular genre. "I write what I enjoy writing," he explained.

     He has completed a variety of other novels, all waiting their turns: a trilogy devoted to Bigfoot, a haunted house mystery, The Perfect Spook House, a golfing mystery, No Mulligan, an end of the world as we know it epic adventure, The Lord’s Last Acres, the thriller, Outside the Clique, a gnome adventure, The Tenth Elemental, a sea monster thriller, Last Stand on the Grand Strand, a love story in the works, The Longest Hello, a series of short stories titled Buttermilk and Cornbread with Spring Onions (Good Ole Southern Nostalgic Nonsense), another series of short stories, Bully on Board (stories about bullying) and the sequel to Dark Thirty with Mack picking up where he left off. Tithe and Offerings with be the third in the series following North of the Border and Road Rage. Many more are in various stages of completion.

"My brain is forever spinning tales, awake or asleep and anywhere in between," says T. Allen Winn. And his readers are delighted.

Thank you so much to T. Allen Winn for visiting with us today. We'll be seeing you all soon from the world of memoirs, writing and publishing!

Mary Anne

Friday, April 26, 2013

One More Boomer Lit Friday-From Italy with Love & Limoncello

For our final Boomerlit Friday post, the ladies are enjoying a leisurely afternoon of exploring and shopping in the magnificent city of Rome, Italy in this excerpt from:
From Italy with Love & Limoncello

Setting off to locate the nearest Metro station, we wanted to find our way back to some of the shops we had passed yesterday when we didn't have the time for exploration. We exited the Metro at Ottaviano and realized that many of the stores are not open on Sunday--even in the afternoon. Craving pizza, we stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe, Il Ciociaro Ristorante, and then discovered that they didn't serve pizza until dinner time. Really????? I ordered a salad and thought it would be a good idea to offset it with some roasted potatoes. Laura and Marianne had ordered risotto and seafood, but the "seafood" turned out to be octopus, which they managed to transfer to the sides of their plates and avoid.

To our delight, we did eventually find a few open stores. In one clothing store, Sharon and I were looking at a particularly attractive top. The male store clerk was standing nearby, closely watching us. Sharon asked him, "What size is this?" 

He replied, "One size fits all." 

She frowned and said, "Oh. Do they seem a little small?" 

He said, "Yes. They for YOUNG girls!" 

Sharon responded, "Alrighty." She then promptly walked out of the store. When I caught up with her outside, we were talking about the store clerk's lack of tact during the exchange. We laughed when Sharon said, "He should have left it at 'they run a little small.'"

Please visit for links to all formats including print, Kindle and Nook and join us for the true story of four non-Italian speaking ladies who travel on an unguided tour throughout Italy!

See you soon!!

Mary Anne 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mary Anne Benedetto Celebrates Boomer Lit Friday

Welcome Boomer Readers and Authors,

Join in the fun-Boomer authors participating in Boomer Lit Friday offer excerpts from a variety of boomer-related books. Blog hopping will give you just enough of a taste of these books to either whet your appetite for more, or perhaps silently decline. Come along with us and visit for awhile! Jump to to sample the goodies. Please don’t hesitate to comment, and we’d love it if you would "Like" the Boomer Lit Facebook page at 

Today I am once again featuring a few lines from From Italy with Love & Limoncello. This is a true story--a travel memoir about four boomer women embarking on an unguided tour of Italy. The girls have finally connected in the Rome airport and are, at last, on their merry way by train to Florence.

We had to laugh because our luggage was located just behind our seating area, and each time the train rounded a slight curve in the track, all suitcases rolled to one side of the train. At the next curve, they all rolled back to the other side of the train. It just seemed comical to see our luggage traveling back and forth. I was amazed that with a load of sixty-six pounds, mine could even roll at all. Statistically speaking, it was heavier than the weight of the average nine year old child!

All was peaceful until the conductor arrived to see our tickets. Laura's ticket had absolutely vanished. She frantically searched her handbag, her carry-on--even her McDonald's bag. The ticket was nowhere to be found. Did she drop it when we were juggling luggage? Calmly, Marianne left her seat to assist in the search. 

The conductor, very annoyed, said to Marianne, "YOU talk to her!" Marianne looked through every possible nook and cranny. We reasoned that she must have had her ticket when she boarded because she readily found the seat number that matched her ticket. It had to be here somewhere! 

Suddenly, all was well once again as Laura reached into the pocket of the seat in front of her, where she had placed the ticket for safe keeping. "This is what I always do on Amtrak," she said. 

It's so easy to become disoriented with insufficient sleep and being deposited into the center of a foreign land! Eventually, the conductor with the stern expression returned to see if there was still an issue with Laura's ticket. He grinned from ear to ear to learn that the elusive item had been located.

Thanks so much for stopping by. We hope that you will travel with us throughout our Italian adventure! A visit to will present you with links to all formats of the books from which excerpts have been featured on this particular blog during Boomer Lit Fridays. 

And while you are “Liking” Facebook pages, I would be honored if you would “Like” my author/speaker page at

Huge blessings for a fabulous weekend!

Mary Anne

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Featuring Gary Lucas and Temp Like Me

Welcome Gary Lucas and Temp Like Me
Are sinister activities occurring in the temporary employment industry? At companies where temps are utilized, do full-time employees treat the temps like second class citizens? Can a senseless murder be solved?

Following a homicide in Willam Johnson’s own family, he is determined to use his investigative and acting skills to find the killer. He has a lead and goes undercover in the world of Day Labor to find the murderer and see that justice is served. This story takes profit-sharing to an entirely new level. During this journey, he also discovers something unexpected--a new respect for people who are down on their luck, treated disrespectfully, and live daily with extreme prejudice against them.

Written in first person, in Temp Like Me we always know what Willam is thinking, viewing and digesting. We know his every thought about his lovely partner in life, wife  Kathy. This is an intriguing read that digs far more deeply than simply solving a murder mystery. It introduces us to a man whose southern roots have formed a typical habitual bias and how his undercover temp experience enables him to view, on multiple levels, life from a very different perception.

In my own southern lineage, I recall hearing relatives make racist comments that were unnecessary and horrifying as I consider their words today. Author, Gary Lucas, reminds us that it’s always enlightening to, even figuratively, walk in someone else’s shoes for awhile.

Book Description:

A murder in the family makes it personal. What slows down the chase is being caught between a small change robbery and a shot from a small caliber handgun that ends with debilitating consequences for Willam. Against everyone’s best advice, he is up and about too soon, but not soon enough for Willam, as the man he now knows is the killer stays just out of reach.

Enter the Temp business, where the killer has a past, sidekicking with someone who has a talent for making temps work for more than daily pay. Under the cover of a day laborer, Willam’s plan is to work and wait. But someone else has a creative plan, too. And yet another person thinks he’s the one with a plan. Now there are too many people who want to temp in Willam’s P. I. shoes, and he’s had enough. After all, there can only be one Temp Like Me. Or maybe…

Getting to know Temp Like Me:

In the words of Gary Lucas, the background of this book is:

“One of my clients, for whom I did sales training for their staff in 18 markets in the southeast, was a temp agency who recruited and placed day laborers and some skilled and semi-skilled workers into day, short term, long term or permanent positions. I'd had many years experience in the staffing industry and had seen everything from fights to car theft in and around the waiting rooms (halls) to the same and more from workers at jobsites.”

Gary’s answer to my question that asks about the uniqueness of this book:

“The title ties in the backgrounds of my two protagonists, both from the south, each having grown up learning different points of view about integration, racial conflicts and common to one, repulsive to the other, racial epithets. Willam (no second i), the PI from Asheville, NC has to go undercover to search for clues about thefts, killings and bribes perpetrated on temp workers, client company employees, and others from someone on the "inside" of the Day Labor business. His views are less than contemporary regarding race. His wife however, who, unknowingly of course, always says the title of each novel somewhere in the story, explains the realities she'd grown up to know and respect. She offers her insights and refers to passages in a book titled "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin. In it, he exposes what it is like to be black in the Deep South.

So, it is, as with all my novels in this series, a who done it, catch the so-and-so story while enjoying the banter, thoughts, actions and in general the special relationship between egos, characteristics, perceptions, intuitiveness and personalities of Willam and Kathy.”

About the Author:

Gary Lucas has been writing in the advertising business for 30 years. He was born at the water’s edge in Miami, Florida and has lived both there and in the mountains of North Carolina his whole life. Professionally, he has traveled extensively along the eastern seaboard and has included cities and towns he particularly liked as important locales for his stories.

His favorite fiction writer is John D. MacDonald who wrote the Travis McGee series. Taken from years of enjoyment with his writing style, Lucas does not go overboard with forensics or detailed police procedures in his writing. Instead, he writes in a fast-moving and easy to read and follow way, developing compelling characters that readers can get to love or hate.

He began writing short stories and poetry in the 90’s and in 2000 published his first novel, Rotten at the Core. He has since written and published Abracadaver and Mayhem & Main. This series features a contemporary private investigator and an intuitive, almost psychic wife who, many reviewers have said, is the real central character.

Learn more about Gary and his books at

Thanks for stopping by, and we'll be back soon!

Mary Anne

Friday, April 12, 2013

Celebrate Boomer Lit Friday Again!

Welcome! We are once again celebrating Boomer Lit Friday, and we’re switching gears from the fictional Never Say Perfect to a nonfiction Boomer travel memoir entitled From Italy with Love & Limoncello.

We hope that you will leap on over to to visit several Boomer sites which feature book excerpts. Please don’t hesitate to comment, and we’d love it if you would "Like" the Boomer Lit Facebook page at 

From Italy with Love & Limoncello:

Description: What happens when four Boomer-age non-Italian speaking women embark on an unguided tour of three regions of Italy? Add miles to the soles of your shoes as you visit Florence, Greve, Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Pompeii and Rome with Mary Anne, Laura, Sharon and Marianne. Whether you are returning to this intriguing country rich with history and magnificent beauty or visiting Italy for the first time, traveling with these women will offer unique insights and stories of international incidents never to be duplicated by a typical tour guide!

Today’s excerpt picks up at the airport in Rome, where I have just arrived on a direct flight from Charlotte, N. C.  Laura, Marianne and Sharon have already landed at least two hours ahead of me because they were flying directly from Newark. We need to connect…now. Remember, this is a true story and not another airport scene that was formulated in my imagination!

Hmmm...I'm looking all around into a sea of strange faces and don't see the girls anywhere. Where could they be? For just a brief moment, I feel minor panic. I'm in a foreign country, everything around me is chaotic, and I have no idea what all of the gibberish is that is being uttered around me. I can't just hail a cab and go to our hotel because we are going to catch a train to Florence as soon as we connect with each other. This is getting slightly unnerving.

It’s similar to imagining landing in the midst of a crowd after having disembarked from your flying saucer and finding that you are on an alien planet. Nothing looks remotely familiar, and the people on this planet cannot communicate with you, nor you with them.

I take a deep breath, move over to the side of the room...away from the crush of human traffic and luggage going by and retrieve my World Mobal phone. What were those peculiar dialing instructions? Will I even have service on this phone in this location? Is it reliable? Were we crazy to plan this on our own? Marianne and Laura have traveled to Paris and Venice before, and Sharon has been to Ireland. I've traveled extensively throughout the U. S., but the only foreign lands I've ever been in were Canada, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Bermuda and Jamaica. What if I can't find them or reach them by phone? Do we even know what to expect without a tour guide to direct us?

A visit to will present you with links to all formats of the books from which excerpts have been featured on this particular blog site during Boomer Lit Fridays.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Mary Anne