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The Writers Next Door

Buy Local Authors for Holiday Giving

Whether you like mystery or romance, nonfiction or science fiction, poetry or prose, your next favorite writer may be closer than you think. This installment of The Writers Next Door comes just in time for the holidays. If you have an avid reader on your holiday list, consider the special, and oh-so-personal touch of gifting a book by a local author. This installment of The Writers Next Door is intended to showcase and foster the work of area writers.

Review by Phoenix Moonshadow

This is the tale of four unlikely friends who band together against the raiders who are wreaking havoc across the land. It is a fantasy tale set in a time that could be any time and a space that could be just a blink away from so-called real life. The scenarios are peopled with elves, drows, orcs, all of whom are traditionally enemies. Through the magic of song and sword, however, they are slowly drawn together as the plot unwinds to reveal many secrets about the four main characters. The secrets are often surprising to themselves as well as to their fellow journeyers.

There is Pasheval, the ageless elvish Bard, who can wield a sword just as well as a song, but prefers the latter. He meets Marlia, a Paladin and a Healer, after rescuing her from the attack that pulls him into her quest for justice and vengeance. Dakkas, a humble Drow, is welcomed into the group, much to his bewilderment, and eventually forms a powerful bond with Pasheval. Last but not least Kashrya, the shy one of mysterious and tragic heritage, completes the circle of friends. The four are guided on their travels by their loyal and sensitive unicorn companions who guard them against unseen dangers.

It is a tale that has many parallels in the world today, where tradition and prejudiced expectations based on cultural differences can be changed through the shared experience of fighting against evil. In Song and Sword these experiences unite hearts that were taught to hate each other, drow or elf, orc or human. What seems etched in stone is not always how things can work out in the end, according to this novel, and that theme of hope and peace is something we can all relate to in these days and times.


P.T. Wyant is a writer of fantasy science fiction, and sometimes poetry. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, is a nurse, a counted cross stitch addict, mom to two rescue dogs, and an expert avoider of housework. Find her blog at

Wyant said: I read once that "A writer never takes a vacation. A writer is always either writing or thinking about writing." That's me in a nutshell (some people would say I belong in a nutshell, but we won't go there...). Writing is my passion, but I do have other hobbies. The aforementioned counted cross stitch is one. Crochet is another. And, Junk Journals are a third (amount of stash and number of works in progress are not up for discussion). Someday I'll find the perfect organizational system. Until then I should be banned from office supply stores and any place that sells tote bags or other "things to put things in." And, that is pretty much me in a bigger nutshell. I like the bigger nutshell – there's more room to decorate.


Review by Annette Dashofy

In this latest George and Ruth Cooper saga, Jeff Boarts really ramps up the excitement with gangsters shooting up the town, a P.I. who fancies himself the next Sam Spade, and a couple of femmes fatales to round out the cast. George finds himself rubbing elbows with some of the most powerful and deadly underworld crime bosses in the city, while Ruth’s new job at the morgue puts her in the middle of a rash of deaths from tainted booze. Who’s behind it? And who will be the next victim? A raucous, face-paced page-turner, Bottled Murder will keep you on your toes and guessing until the very end. - Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best selling author of the Zoe Chambers Mysteries.


Jeff Boarts is the author of 10 cozy, historical mysteries featuring the amateur sleuths, George and Ruth Cooper. Most of his books take place in Kittanning or Pittsburgh. Jeff lives and works in Kittanning where he grew up. He has a love of history, and uses local events and locations to give color and flavor to his stories. His 10th mystery is scheduled to be released November 2020.


Review by Dee Ferra, of Nevada

After a long day’s work, I like to become immersed in a romance novel that helps me to escape to another time and place. The works by R. E. Laurel draw me into the dramas and lives of the developed characters. I experience a sense of oneness with them and I am able to relate to them. I understand their emotions and even become frustrated at times how events enfold.

I believe that it takes talent for an author to bring the individuals to life. The evolving mysteries in some of her stories draw me in further and it is hard to put the books down. The Fangs of the Lion blends drama, deceit, mystery, psychic abilities and tumultuous emotions that carried me from the very beginning to the very end of the book. A great read!


R.E. Laurel is a writer of sensuous steamy second-chance-at-romance stories with happily ever after endings. She has been writing since high school and tucking her stories away. After she retired, Ms. Laurel brushed off her manuscripts and learned about self-publishing. As an indie (independent) author, she has many published titles for fans to choose from. In her spare time, she is an experienced paranormal investigator, and her literary works now include paranormal romances. Watch for more of these in the future.


Review by Joy Lynne, of Fox Chapel

A wonderful Christmas read. S. K. McClafferty whisks the reader off to the mountains of West Virginia with this great Christmas read. It's filled with real characters dealing with real situations. This is no Ozzie and Harriet family, but you will finish this story loving them nonetheless. Very Enjoyable.


S.K. McClafferty said she began this series as a one-installment Christmas story about life in Appalachia's Coal Country, but was so taken with Maggie and her dad, Jacob Sutter, that she added another installment, and then another. The second book is called Return to Sutter's Mountain: Giving Thanks. It takes place just prior to Thanksgiving. She is finishing up The Legacy Quilt, which has a tentative publication date of January 21.

S. K. McClafferty began writing on a whim in 1985, and sold her first book to Avon Books in 1991. A long career has followed, with 13 traditionally published novels. McClafferty lives in an old house on the banks of the Allegheny with her 3 furry companions.


Review by Evonne Hutton (Amazon Review)

Aptly named! Somewhere in the chaos of life two sides to the same coin comes together! The uptight cop meets up with a woman that can only be his worst nightmare!! He is searching for the culprits in a child trafficking ring and she is searching for her child. Can they find a HEA? Well written with some of the same characters we met in book 1. More please!!! I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review

Review by Judith Bossart, Sharpsburg (Amazon Review)

Not Your Usual Romance Novel. Just finished When Law Met Disorder which is the second book of the Second Chance Series. Not your usual romance novel. It is full of twists, turns and believable emotions. What a great, interesting and spell binding read!

Even if you read the books (there are three of them as we speak with more on the way) out of order, one can still follow what is going on without any confusion (you just wouldn't appreciate the full essence of the main characters from the other books in this series.) Some of the characters (from the other books) overlap but the main characters are unique to each individual book in the series.

J.D. takes you through a whole gamut of situations, as well as emotions. Everything is so believable. You will laugh, cry and root for the good guys. Great job J.D.


J.D. Wylde lives in Western Pennsylvania. With a dozen books published, she is the author of sweet & sexy romance, writing heartwarming stories with strong heroines, sexy heroes, and always a happy ending. She believes in the power of four-inch heels, and that anything can be cured with the right amount of chocolate. With a deep belief in love, and the magic that happens when two souls connect and the heart finds love, she has a line of sexy contemporary romances, as well as a line of sweet, inspirational romances. Follow her on Facebook or at


Is there a local writer you would like us to profile? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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