New Ventures and Looking Forward

Hello friends and readers,

I know it’s been ages since I’ve personally posted to my blog. I hope you enjoyed meeting some new-to-you authors this past year and picked up a few good books to keep you occupied during quarantine.

2020 has been a difficult year for so many. Who would have thought we’d be where we are now? In the midst of a raging pandemic and slogging through a never-ending election season from hell. The only things keeping me sane have been friends, family, an excellent husband, good wine, drowning myself in books, and an attitude of gratitude for all I have. It also doesn’t hurt to ground myself in nature every chance I get.

But being an empathic soul, I also carry the weight of the unbearable sadness, fear, and loss we are all suffering. My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost loved ones or who are among the millions suffering after-effects of having had Coronavirus. The long-term implications of this disease are yet unknown, and even a vaccine will not make it miraculously disappear, so let’s send love and healing vibes to all who need it!

Not only to those directly impacted by the virus, but let’s also reach out to those struggling with loneliness, food insecurity, homelessness, and job loss. It seems no one has been left untouched by tragedy in one form or another. Those of you who are grandparents understand the pain of being separated from grandchildren and their magical hugs that are our lifeblood. Missing out on those precious moments of connection leaves us all hurting and longing for normalcy again. With everything we’ve been through this year and all the political and societal uncertainty, the magnitude of the moment we are in is not lost on me.

Even before Covid, I’d been struggling. Like a lot of you, the past few years have taken a toll on me, and I’ve been in a bit of a funk for a while. Especially when it comes to my writing. I’ve been in a “dry spell” creatively, meaning I haven’t written anything since last January, right after the release of my last novella in the Savage Cinderella Series, Liberty’s Promise. I decided to take a hiatus from writing and work on marketing the dozen or so books I have. This plan, however, was a bust!

I’ve done little to no promotion of the series and therefore have had a dribble of sales and few reviews for the books, which is always the case if we authors aren’t out there daily, pounding the pavement so to speak. In Liberty’s Promise, I left the series with an opening if I wanted to continue Brinn’s journey, but since I had no burning new ideas, decided to take a break and spend some time promoting…my least favorite thing. But once Covid hit, my focus shifted.

I talk about this at further length with my new pals over at YA Outside The Lines, a blog with a whole host of YA authors of all stripes. As part of my endeavor to get back into my writing groove, I’ve agreed to write a monthly post, my first of which is here! This months theme was “What went right in 2020?”  I have to say, it was a tough blog topic to start back with! Despite feeling like I’m diving into the deep end of the pool, I’m super excited about being part of this inspirational and talented group, and I’m grateful to be a contributor. I know it will inspire me and motivate me to get out of the fortress of solitude I’ve been holed up in.

I’m not certain what this coming year will bring, but my hope is that we will see some positive changes. A vaccine is around the corner so I finally see on the horizon, an end to this national nightmare. As for me, now that I feel as if we’ve been untied from the railroad tracks, I’ve vowed to get back to healthier eating, more consistent exercise, better self-care, and back to new writing projects in the new year. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I decide what that might look like, lol.

Health and Wellness Guide

Do you suffer from sedentary lifestyle syndrome? Get help NOW!

If you’re looking for some help getting back on a healthier track yourself, check out all the great  tips in my self-care guide, OVERCOME YOUR SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE!

I recommend the color print version which is prettier than the black and white and handier than the Kindle version, but whichever way you choose to enjoy this book, I’m betting you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth. Some of my clients have said it stays next to their bed for quick reference like a healthcare “Bible”. It also makes a great holiday gift for someone you love. I’ll be re-reading it myself!

In the meantime, in an effort to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, I will continue to self-isolate (I’ve grudgingly, but I think wisely, shut down my massage therapy practice until after the holidays), wear a mask when out and about, hand sanitize often, and do my part to flatten the curve. I hope you’ll join me and do the same.

If you’re an essential worker, thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping us supplied and provided for and if you are a healthcare provider, may you be strengthened and protected. Your sacrifice is not unappreciated or overlooked! Be safe and stay well<3

Peace and Blessings,


Meet the Author: Amanda Marin

Hey Readers,

Welcome this month’s Meet the Author guest, Amanda Marin.

If you love YA Dystopian, “swoony, forbidden romance”, and “heart-pounding suspense and action”, Amanda has some treats for you! Flicker to Fire, the third and final book in the Crimson Sash series comes out this week,  and Enchanted Kingdoms: A Limited Edition Twisted Fairytale Anthology, due out in February 2021, is available for pre-order now, so give her a warm welcome, check out her books, and join the discussion below.


Let’s find out more about Amanda, her books, and her writing life…

Flicker to Fire

Publishes August 4, 2020, Inkspell Publishing

Outside the refugee center in Kébec Village, the border wall separating the New Republic from the Nation continues to crumble. On one side, Neve Hall and Micah Ward are Sans Murs operatives, documenting cases of the Nation’s human rights violations as escapees arrive. On the other, Isla Pryce has begun a ruthless mission to purge the Nation of Sufferers who, like Micah, have been unfaithful to their vows.

Then she arrives: Blythe Thatcher, a mysterious young woman on the run from Isla’s vicious Inquisition Board. In Blythe, Neve sees a way to help Sans Murs further its cause—and rid the Nation of its callous Suffering system once and for all. But when the Nation uncovers their plan, the struggle that started as a flicker quickly turns to fire, and only Neve and Micah can extinguish the flame.

On Sale Now for 2.99 at all your favorite e-book retailers!
The Crimson Sash series is best enjoyed in the following reading order: North to Nara (Book 1), Sky to Sea (Book 2), Flicker to Fire (Book 3). Find more information about me and my books by visiting my website.


Also available for Pre-order
Enchanted Kingdoms: A Limited Edition Twisted Fairytale Anthology

Publishes February 23, 2021, Enchanted Quill Press and Dragon Realm Press

Old Tales, New Twists … The stories you loved as a child have been twisted into wildly addictive tales that will bewitch you as an adult: enchanted castles, spellbinding magic, handsome princes, beautiful princesses, and as many happily-ever-afters as your heart desires.

This mesmerizing set includes 20 novel-length retellings of different classic fairytales—all by a collection of best-selling and award-winning authors. And—because everyone deserves a fairy godmother—100% of proceeds benefit Puzzle Peace United, a children’s autism charity!

 (Currently available for pre-order exclusively through Barnes & Noble and Apple Books) Only .99 cents!



Now, let me explain how I came to write what I write…


Writing that Matters by Amanda Marin

There I was: twenty-two years old and eager to learn everything I could about literature and writing. So what did I do? Enrolled in graduate school. For English. (A practical choice, of course!) I was quiet in school, always taking notes, so when a professor cold-called on me one day, I was stunned and horrified and wished my desk was a cave so I could hide inside it and never come out again.

“Is it a writer’s duty to reflect the history of the times in their work?” she asked me.

That’s the thing about graduate school—you have to think. So I thought. And I came to a stunning conclusion.

“Yes,” I’d said. “A writer can’t help but write from the perspective of the era he or she is living in. The duty is implied.”

It was an answer that many—including the professor herself—disagreed with. Oh, where was that cave when I needed it?

Fast forward several (I won’t confess exactly how many!) years later, and I’ve found myself on the other side of the table: not only a reader but also a published writer, with the debate from that night in my grad school lit class still haunting me. Now, with three novels out and another on the horizon, I have to amend my prior stance on my professor’s question from years ago.

No, it’s not writers’ duty to capture the history and issues of their times—but it inevitably happens, and it makes stories so much richer when they do.

I’m stubborn, so modifying my stance—even this much—is a big deal. But the proof is in my own work itself. My first three novels, you see, comprise a YA dystopian romance series that reflects (wait for it …) modern social issues. Yes, the Crimson Sash trilogy has swoony, forbidden romance—it’s a reimagining of The Scarlett Letter, after all! And it’s got plenty of heart-pounding suspense and action, including running from the government, kidnappings, and war. But at its heart, it’s also about empathy, immigration, and inclusion—super important themes these days!

I started writing the series in 2018, soon after seeing a story on the news about a couple unable to marry in their homeland. The pair ran away to the US to be together—and soon after had to flee to Canada for fear of deportation. They had a brutal journey through snow and with plenty of suffering, but they persevered. Their story reminded me that the comforts and freedoms I’m lucky enough to enjoy aren’t available to everyone, and their struggle became a major influence on the first book in the series, North to Nara. I tried to stay true these themes throughout the rest of the series, and I am so excited to bring my characters’ dystopian journey—inspired by real life issues—full circle in the series’ conclusion, Flicker to Fire, which publishes August 4, 2020.

Without meaning to, I did exactly what my professor debated with me that day years ago: I wrote a story that reflected the times.

My next question to myself is why did I do that? The answer is easy. Because I care. Because the issues in my trilogy matter to me, and I hope they can help make a difference to someone else. I hope my work prompts a reader to think about what’s happening in our world or to reach out and help someone in need—and I hope it helps someone experiencing a similar struggle feel a little less alone.

And you know what? I think I like writing fiction that helps to make a difference.

I like it so much, in fact, that my next novel, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz that grapples with loss in a fantasy underworld setting, is part of Enchanted Kingdoms. Enchanted Kingdoms is a digital box set for which the authors are donating all proceeds to Puzzle Peace United, a children’s autism charity. Puzzle Peace United works to raise autism awareness, gives parents tools to help their autistic children prosper, and offers autistic kids opportunities to be a part of their communities with events and activities.

I feel incredibly honored to be a part of this project because, as a writer, words have made a huge difference in my life—and now I can also use them to make a positive difference in someone else’s. To me, that’s priceless.

So no, Professor, writers don’t have to tell tales that reflect the times and help make a difference … But it’s so much better when they do! Don’t you think?

Author Bio:

When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing back a book as a present for her. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about faraway knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.


Nowadays, Amanda writes books of her own. She holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College, and she works in scholarly publishing. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and stories with characters that make you go “awww.” She lives in New Hampshire with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.



Follow Amanda at any of these Social Media Links:




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Thanks for joining us this month, Amanda. I’m anxious to read your series, and best of luck with the anthology. I already went over and pre-ordered my copy!

I, for one, love YA Dystopian Romance, but of course, I’m biased:-) What about you, dear readers?

Do you like Dystopian or YA Romance in general? Why or why not? What do you love/hate about it. Discuss:-)

Meet the author…Rhonda Hopkins

Welcome Readers,

I’d like to introduce you to Rhonda Hopkins, a wonderful author and all-around big-hearted person I met in an online self-publishing forum when I first began writing. We’ve remained in touch and worked on several multi-author projects together over the years.

One of the greatest perks of self-publishing is that we aren’t limited to writing in only one genre. Rhonda has embraced that privilege and her stories are creative, well-written, fun, and action-packed. Give her a big welcome  by leaving a comment, and let’s see what she has for us today!

Finding light within the darkness…

Rhonda Hopkins is an award-winning author of Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, Cozy Mysteries, and Nonfiction for adults, teens/young adult, and middle grade. She uses her past experience as an investigator to craft characters that are diverse and full of life, along with situations that include the dark and the light side of humanity. Rhonda especially enjoys finding that light – the hope and spirit of survival in everyday people.

Rhonda’s nonfiction can be found at Navigating Family Court.


Rhonda’s latest is a YA Cozy Mystery! I think this is a fabulous idea and an as yet untapped genre…just sayin’.

Let’s Meet Rhonda!

I’ve lived in small towns in Texas my whole life. I even lived in a small town in East Texas for a while. It wasn’t in the Piney Woods, but it had a similar feel. And, I guarantee small towns really do have quirky characters like you read about in cozy mysteries. I’ve met plenty of them. I won’t say any of my characters are modeled after those I’ve met. But, I won’t say they aren’t, either.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew, so maybe that’s why I ended up doing investigations for a living before devoting my time to writing. And, it’s probably why I have a fondness for this new series and a teen girl who investigates mysteries. Of course, I also grew up watching Bewitched, so adding in some magical mayhem seemed like the thing to do.

I have really had fun writing this series and getting to know the characters. I hope you will love them as much as I do.

The first book, A Witchy Surprise, is now available for pre-order.


A Witchy Surprise: Witches of Whispering Pines, Book One

Unreliable Magic + Bad Guys = Unpredictable Mayhem

I’m Charlie and I come from a long line of witches – including my talented mother and my quirky (okay, some say crazy) great-grandmother who likes to wreak havoc just for fun. Having reached the ripe old age of sixteen without getting my powers, I thought the “witchy” gene had skipped me.

Well, I did until the magic exploded out of me when two men dumping a body grabbed my sister and best friend while we were walking through the woods. We got away, but my magic is all wonky and If I don’t learn to control it, my family’s centuries-old, witchy secret will be exposed.

Then there’s Kaleb. We’ve been friends since kindergarten, but all of a sudden I can’t seem to put together a coherent sentence around him. I am not falling for him. I’m not. Oh, who I am kidding? I’m totally falling for him.

I really don’t need all these distractions when there’s the small matter of the two men from the woods trying to silence us forever. If only I could get my rebellious powers under control I might be able to keep us safe. No pressure though, right?

A Witchy Surprise is the first book in the Witches of Whispering Pines young adult cozy mystery series. If you like magic, quirky characters, and small-town mysteries, you’re sure to enjoy A Witchy Surprise.

Book Pre-order Links
Read an Excerpt


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Those who sign up for my email list will also receive a subscriber-only freebie, A Witchy Mistake, as soon as it’s complete. It’s a novella in the Witches of Whispering Pines series and will only be available to email subscribers for at least six months.

Subscribe to Rhonda’s Email List








If you’d like to follow Rhonda on her social media sites, you can find her here…



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Thanks so much for joining us, Rhonda! Great to have you here. Okay, Readers, any questions, comments, or “witch” related stories you’d like to share with my guest?

Meet my guest author, Brandy Woods Snow

Hey Readers,

I have another awesome author to introduce you to this month. Brandy Woods Snow (I love that name!) writes Contemporary Young Adult fiction, a genre near and dear to my heart, so give her a big welcome in the comments section below and share what you love about reading YA Romance!

Thanks, PJ. I’m always happy to meet new readers! Today, I’d like to share a bit about my latest novel, AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD.

Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach.

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit.

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

Amazon     B&N     IndieBound     FVPublishing
Add it to your Want To Read List on Goodreads


I suppose we all “write what we know” to some extent. My author theme, which is prevalent in all my books, is profound brokenness in characters and how they discover their own strength to overcome the challenges and obstacles in their way. And I think we all can understand this to some point. For CJ in AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD, this looked like dealing with survivor’s guilt and then embracing love to find the strength to forgive.

But I also love infusing parts of my own life into my character’s world (which is generally pretty easy since I write contemporary!). In AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD, I wanted to introduce my readers to a place very special to me—a place I’ve been visiting since childhood, a place I consider one of my muses. Edisto Beach, South Carolina. I’m also keen on tossing in a few South Carolina “Easter Eggs” when I write. I love where I’m from, and it’s always been fun for me to lace these things into the narrative.

We see this setting come forth within the first page of AMAIEC (a short moniker for a long title, lol) as CJ’s father drops her off at the open-air farm-style market on the island. This is based on the very real King’s Market on Hwy 174 going into Edisto Beach. It our family’s tradition to stop there on the way in each year and get a few bottles of Blenheim Ginger Ale from the freezer case. This particular soda, bottled in SC, is also featured in the book and is represented by the pink bottle cap on the cover.

The descriptions of the island are on point with the real location—the sandy streets, the marshy tidal flats, the dunes, the Spanish Moss dripping from the trees. It’s all very Low Country SC—even down to that sulphuric, rotten-eggish stench of the swamps. I even had one reviewer tell me that the descriptions of the houses up on stilts reminded her of her own childhood vacations to SC’s grand strand and that made my day! Those summer memories (past and present) are so dear to me, and I loved the fact that my descriptions conjured up her own happy memories. I mean, what’s a better compliment than that?

So, just to give a quick rundown of the other setting elements readers can expect in AMAIEC that are based on real-life: the marina where CJ works and the Shrimp Shack right beside it where Jett works are described just as their real-life counterparts though the store names have been changed. The restaurant Something’s Fishy where Memaw and CJ have the hilarious shrimp-and-grits dinner date is based off one of my favorite Edisto restaurants, McConkey’s Jungle Shack. (And by the way, their fried shrimp is to die for!) And speaking of shrimp, the fact that Jett and his father run a shrimping business is also a direct reflection of real-life Edisto. There are not many vacation spots where you can sit on the beach and still watch the local shrimping boats right off the coast, pulling in their nets with the pelicans circling. On Edisto you can, and then later that day, you can head on over to Edisto Seafood and buy all that fresh, delicious, buttery local shrimp. That’s another one of our traditions! We visit Edisto and eat fresh shrimp all seven days we’re there. It’s magical!

And I hope I convey at least a fraction of the magic of Edisto Beach in the pages of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD.


Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business MagazineColumbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.

Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, published February 2020.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Follow Brandy:


Facebook: @BWSnowWrites

Twitter: @brandy_snow

Instagram: @snowbrandy

Thanks for hanging out with us and sharing such a great story about the setting in your novel, Brandy. I visited the Outer Banks last year and fell in love with the Carolina Coastline. Your descriptions of Edisto Beach make me want to add it to my travel plans:-)

Okay, readers, feel free to ask questions, add comments, or share what you love about Contemporary YA Romance!

Peace and Blessings,



Celebrating World Book Day!

Hey readers,

On this 50th anniversary week of EARTH DAY, I hope you and your loved ones are well. Thanks for stopping by!

I’ve been out trimming, dragging, digging, and preparing my gardens, as well as walking along my stretch of road and picking up trash this week. I live way out in the country, and still, I’m appalled by the amount of trash that collects along the roadsides! I’m also participating in some online events offered through great organizations like Sierra Club and the People’s Climate Movement.

I’d love to hear what you did to celebrate Earth Day 2020. Let me know in the comments section below and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an Earth Day gift bag!
Random winner to be chosen and announced (May 1st by midnight) on my PJSharonBooks Facebook page.


I also have lots of fun writer/reader events coming up to help you get through this difficult time of self-isolation. Instead of introducing you to just one new author this month, I’m going to share a bunch of them with you!

In case you hadn’t heard, World Book Day was in March, but as you know, things have been a bit crazy. We didn’t want the day to pass unrecognized, so in honor of such an auspicious occasion, I’m participating in an online World Book Day Romance Book Fair from April 23-29th.

Participating authors are offering their books at discounted prices, and some–like me–are even offering a FREEBIE! Check out the fabulous list of available selections



You can also find me sharing my SAVAGE CINDERELLA series and an excerpt from LIBERTY’S PROMISE (Book 5) over at Dee S Knight’s blog on April 25th (link to be announced on Facebook ), or join me for an interview at Marcia James’s Pet Blog on May 1st, where I’ll share the origin story of Brinn’s faithful canine sidekick, Eliot, and answer questions about the series.

Also in May, I’ll be participating once again in the Authors4Veterans event.  As a participating author I’ve donated several books and other items to Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. You can read more about Fisher House here:

What are we doing?
We are filling 30 tote bags with books, swag and necessities or personal items which will be given to families staying at the Fisher House in Milwaukee, WI. The Milwaukee Fisher House has 16 rooms, which turn over sometimes as soon as a few days and sometimes a few months, depending on the family’s soldier or Marine’s hospital stay. Our prior donation bags turned over in two weeks and were met with positive comments and gratitude. I’m so proud to be involved in this event each year and am grateful to PJ Fiala and Stacey Joy Netzel for organizing. You ladies rock!

And on May 25th, I’ll be visiting Alisha Robinson’s blog, chatting about my first novel, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES and giving away two signed copies in honor of Memorial Day and to celebrate our Veterans.


During these strange and challenging days, I hope you’re taking time out to count your blessings, appreciate time with loved ones, catch up on your reading, and be gentle with yourself.

“This too shall pass,” my mother used to say. Of course, I hated it when she said it, but alas…she was right. Until then, be well. Get outside for some fresh air and enjoy the Spring weather. Mother Earth is taking a breather from our destructive human influence. So should we. Let’s make every day Earth Day!

Peace and blessings,


Welcome Sadie Hartwell!

Hi Readers,

Sadie and I met several years ago at a writer’s group at our local library when we were both working on our first novels and looking for good critique partners. (Yes, we also met Casey Wyatt and Katy Lee there!) That friendship blossomed and she has not only been an awesome critique partner, but a fabulous editor! She edited several of my books, including my Chronicles of Lily Carmichael Trilogy and some of my earlier novellas. Unfortunately, she became so popular as an editor, she’s made it a full-time job and is now working for a publishing house, which keeps her VERY busy. When she’s not in editing mode, she continues to write engaging and adventurous cozy mysteries. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!

Thanks for hosting me today, PJ!

I write cozy mysteries under two different pen names, the Greek to Me Mysteries written as Susannah Hardy, and the Tangled Web Mysteries written as Sadie Hartwell. My most recent book is A Knit Before Dying, in which my sleuth, yarn store owner Josie Blair, solves the murder of the owner of an antique store, and in the process also solves a decades-old cold case.

What’s a cozy mystery? The classic examples are Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories, Nancy Drew, and the television show Murder, She Wrote, and they are a lot of fun to write. (I didn’t say they were easy, by the way, but they are fun!)

In general, you will find the following elements in a cozy mystery:

  1. A crime is committed in a well-defined community (St. Mary Mead, River Heights, Cabot Cove), most often a small town with a cast of lovable, cranky, or quirky characters as residents.


  1. Usually the crime is murder—but the murder happens off-stage. The reader doesn’t see the attack happen or see the victim suffer. The violence itself is elegant: one bullet, a single knife wound, one poisoned cup of tea are enough to do the trick.


  1. Someone in town—our sleuth!—has a good reason to get involved in solving the mystery. Perhaps she has a close relationship with the victim, or she has information that the police refuse to believe, or she’s even a suspect herself, but she has a deep need/desire to see justice done.


  1. There are at least three suspects, all of whom had good reason to want the victim dead. This creates the puzzle that the sleuth must solve.


  1. All the clues necessary for solving the mystery are included in the story. Readers expect authors to play fair!


  1. The killer/criminal is always caught—and always faces consequences for what s/he has done. With very, very few exceptions, nobody gets away with committing a crime.


  1. By the end of the story, order and justice are restored—until the next book, when crime returns to our little town.


Why are these stories so popular? A few reasons.

First, readers love to solve puzzles, and that’s just what a good mystery is. When I construct a mystery, I start with the town and the sleuth (which in a series are already established). Then I create a victim, who is usually someone from out of town, or who has just moved to town, or is an expendable character who has lived there a long time. Now the fun begins, as I think about who that victim is, what his life story is, and what kind of trouble he might have gotten himself into. Then I think of 3 or 4 reasons someone might want him dead, and I create a suspect for each of those reasons. When the sleuth starts investigating, she’ll have to meet up with all the suspects in one way or another, and she’ll have to eliminate them—or think she’s eliminated them—until she’s evaluated and reevaluated all the clues she’s amassed. Then, surprise! A final twist, or a new way of looking at a previously eliminated clue, and the suspect is identified and confronted—then swept off to jail.

Second, the sleuth and the people in her little town become familiar to readers over the course of a series, like old friends. When I hear from readers, it’s almost never about the mystery itself, but almost always about how much they love the characters. That carefully constructed puzzle? Enjoyable, but that’s not what readers remember.

And third, remember what I said about order being restored? That’s the biggie. In a world that is pretty darn scary right now for a lot of reasons, a cozy mystery always delivers a heaping helping of justice. The sleuth figures it out. Criminals get caught. Always. That certainty is a comfort to readers when so much else in their real lives is out of control.

And that, dear readers, is why I love the cozies, and why I write them. I hope you’ll give my books a try! If you read cozies, what is your favorite series? (You can name as many favorites as you want. Cozies are like potato chips—you can’t read just one).

Ellie the Tuxedo Cat

About the Author…

Sadie Hartwell writes the Tangled Web Mysteries. As Susannah Hardy, she writes the Greek to Me Mysteries. At her home in Connecticut, which she shares with her family and a mischievous tuxedo cat named Ellie, she gets to play with yarn, experiment with recipes, and make up stories all day, and wishes everyone had a job as fun as hers. 





Sadie Hartwell’s Amazon Page

Susannah Hardy’s Amazon Page


Follow Sadie on Facebook


Welcome Casey Wyatt!

Hey Readers,

Casey and I first met at a writers group at a local library when we were both just wrapping our heads around the idea of writing toward publication. Pragmatic, super smart, and a total geek (in the best way), she’s been a valued critique partner, fellow Scribe, and all around awesome part of my writing “tribe” for over a decade. I’m so happy to have her here and to introduce you to her fabulous books. Although she usually writes action-packed fantasy, she’s trying her hand at Contemporary Romance and I can’t wait to read her latest release, Over Easy. I’ll let her tell you all about it…

Hey everyone!

Casey here. Thank you for having me PJ!

Sometimes life gives you second chances because you weren’t ready the first time.”

Some wise person said that. I chose it because my latest release, Over Easy, embodies this idea.

As PJ mentioned, while I mostly write paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels, I like to try new things.  In 2014, Over Easy was my first toe dip into writing contemporary romance. I thought it would be cool to learn to write in a universe where my characters don’t have to save the world. Instead, they have to save themselves—which is not as easy to do when you can’t blow things up or use magic.

Stretch goals. Just bring’em.

So I wrote the book. I rewrote the book. Then rewrote it again.

Audra Harper and Dash Grant were essentially the same characters in each version, but the plot wasn’t strong enough. They weren’t strong enough either. And I wasn’t ready to tell their tale. I had to improve my craft, which is a never ending pursuit.

I set the book aside after those three very different rewrites, after loads of advice from my fellow writers, and after lots of requests from agents/editors. In the end, no dice. I had to face reality, the book was a jumbled mess. I chalked it up to my lack of ability and returned to the safe world of paranormal romance and urban fantasy (much to my editor’s relief.)

And then a funny thing happened while I wrote my next books: Dead Girls Don’t Sing, Chase’s Fire and Misfortunate Soul (all second books in existing series), I found my mojo again. I hit an emotional resonance with those worlds and characters that I hadn’t found before.

In 2019, I decided it was time to rewrite Over Easy. But first, I challenged myself further – I wrote a novella. Which was even more terrifying than a full length novel. Rewrite the Stars, which takes place on a cruise ship in a shared world (Heart of the Sea), ended up being a contemporary romance about an astronomer and a billionaire. Fun, flirty and fast, the book proved I could nail a romance without needing a lot of words or blowing things up.


I’m glad I gave Over Easy another chance. Audra and Dash tackle the idea that, maybe they needed to fail before they could succeed. A lesson I had to learn too.

Who hasn’t wondered “what if?” And which of us hasn’t yearned for another chance to “get it right” or “to start over.”

I am actually not a believer in regrets (mostly a waste of time.) But I am a big believer in do-overs. Otherwise, how else would I have ended up adopting seven cats?  Okay, that is a story for another day. And, no, I didn’t get them all at the same time.


Aren’t they cute?


But like the cats that turned up at my door or ended up in shelters, I think some of the best stories are when we get a chance to start over. In Over Easy, Audra and Dash have baggage. They aren’t perfect and they don’t have rose colored glasses when it comes to each other. And, despite that, they find their happily ever after.

And who doesn’t love that?


Here’s a bit about the book…

What’s that saying? Never say never?
I never thought I’d return to my hometown Somerset, Vermont. I left twelve years earlier without a backward glance. Too many bad memories, not enough good. Now, I’m a celebrity chef in between gigs ready to pay back a karmic debt by becoming co-owner of the town’s fading diner, Over Easy.
I also never planned to find my former high school flame, Audra Harper, still in town and still working at her uncle’s diner. She’s sexier and more desirable than a decade earlier.
Too bad I left her behind without saying goodbye. All I can hope is she’s forgotten me and never learns the truth behind my abrupt exit.
Only, she hasn’t forgotten me. And the more time we spend together, the harder it is for me to resist her. The harder it is to want to leave.
I don’t intend to hurt Audra again, but if the mistakes from my past come to light,  the decision will be made for me and our second chance will vanish.
Available at Amazon 

Or find it at other e-book retailers HERE


I can’t be the only one who adores second chances. I’d love to hear your favorite second chance story!

Casey Wyatt grew up in a mid-size Connecticut town where nothing exciting ever happened. To stem the boredom, she read fantasy and sci-fi stories, imagining her own adventures in her head. Not much has changed since she’s grown up, only now she’s a multi-published author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels. In her spare time, she loves all things geeky, hangs out in museums, and collects stray cats.


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You can also find Casey here…



Twitter: @CaseyWyatt1





Welcome Katy Lee!

I promised you all a once a month treat of introducing you to new authors you may not know. Katy Lee and I have been friends since long before either of us caught the writing bug and I will tell you with extreme bias, she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She may not be a newbie to the writing scene, but if you haven’t read any of her books yet, they will quickly become your latest obsession! She writes heartwarming and inspiring stories filled with action, adventure, sweet romance, and characters you won’t soon forget.

Welcome Katy Lee!

Hello Readers,

I am Katy Lee, writer of sweet romance and high-speed suspense. Thank you, PJ for inviting me to share about my latest Amish suspense. Yes, I said Amish suspense. Think Harrison Ford in the movie Witness. And if you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it. But before I talk about Amish Country Undercover, I want to share about my most recent trip with my two teenage daughters.

I have an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old. Both girls are graduating this spring, one from high school and one from college. My oldest is looking at grad school and wanted to see a school in Miami, FL. This New Englander doesn’t blame her for wanting to spend the next couple years in the Sunshine State, and after the week we spent on the island, I just might join her. (Just kidding 😉)

While there we made the best of the warm weather and toured around Miami in a 1956 Chevy. We even dressed for the ride in our vintage dresses. My oldest daughter loves vintage clothing and keeps an Instagram page called VintageFishLady with all her collections. Besides spending time on the beautiful South Beach, we also kicked up our heels for some Salsa and Bachata dancing. The night life is amazingly fun there. I’m pretty sure she will love being a part of the scene on a regular basis, (If she chooses that school). But no matter where she ends up, I know she will inspire many as well as be inspired. It’s the one thing I will miss the most when she is gone. The camaraderie and support our little group of girls has. The support of family is a wonderful blessing and gift. Being there for each other on good days and bad, and the fun we have on our trips around the world, or just cruising around town.

Which leads me to…Amish Country Undercover.

Grace Miller has a father with dementia and is watching him slip away more and more each day. He doesn’t remember her, but she has a lifetime of memories of him. The Amish take care of their elderly and consider it an important responsibility, but dementia and Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking for anyone. Whereas I will see my daughter again, Grace fears her Daed is gone forever. It is unimaginable.

And so is the danger that befalls on Grace’s door when someone frames her for the horse thefts in her community…then nearly kills her. Amish Country Undercover is a race to the finish for Grace, all while she holds her father close to care for him. He is all that matters to her, and the handsome FBI man who comes to arrest her is growing on her too.

I do hope you will check out Grace’s story. It’s in stores on February 1st.

You can pre-order it now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!




Thanks again for being here. I would love to hear about your family stories of the important people in your life. After all, they are what matters most.


Katy Lee has published eighteen thrilling and inspiring mystery and suspense novels. She loves to knit warm woolly things and enjoys traveling around the globe. Katy is a two-time RITA® Award nominee and two-time Daphne du Maurier award nominee for excellence in suspense. She also has multiple award wins, including the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and the Selah Award for her suspense novel Blindsided. Her website is