That satisfying level of busy-ness

It doesn’t take much to get me frazzled. The need to accomplish  A  before B while at the same time balancing when to do C without neglecting D really feeds my anxiety disorder. Especially when it came to working outside the home and I was on someone else’s schedule!

So this makes this stage of life especially sweet. I keep to a pretty basic routine that keeps me happily busy.  I exercise my creativity  by blogging ( I especially LOVE the series of interviews I’m doing! Maybe my journalistic muscles aren’t as atrophied as I thought?).  I keep my yarn supply up so there’s always plenty with which to crochet. I have an active social life and am especially fond of breakfast dates with the network of friends I’ve come to know over the years. And if nothing else, I’m NEVER without a good book to read; if I AM without adequate  reading material, I’m miserable!

I have learned that inertia is the enemy. When I get in an emotional rut and just don’t feel like getting over the hump of procrastination, I spiral downward. Knowing this was why I decided, after a recent episode of anxiety and depression, I was going to jumpstart my activities. Even during “down time” usually spent in front of the TV, I need to be crocheting or spinning yarn or at least folding a load of laundry.

However, just because I’ve found my happy level doesn’t mean Anxiety wouldn’t rear it’s ugly head if I ventured out into the workforce again ( I’d rather remove my own spleen with a rusty knife).  Knowing how easily my fragile state of inner peace can be, I’m especially grateful to be as blessed as I am that I’m in such a secure situation.

I appreciate every one of my readers and if you do frequently find yourself frazzled during your day, I hope you discover tools to bring yourself to a more contented level. My hat’s off to those who work 40+ hours/week and maintain their sanity–they’re made of sturdier than I.


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Meet Metaphysical Entrepreneur Margie Florimbio!


I truly admire those who manifest their dreams into incredible reality. One of these remarkably dynamic go-getters is my amazing friend, Margie Florimbio.  Read on to learn about the Proprietress of Love&Light333!

1. What is Love&Light333 and how did it come into being? 

L&L 333 is a Meet Up Metaphysical group. We meet a few times a month. We offer a wide variety of metaphysical classes, workshops, events, and energy healings. I have worked in a metaphysical store for many years now; I also do readings and teach classes at other stores in the DC metro area. I started this meet up group in the panhandle of WV, because we did not have one. I was driving out to Frederick MD for one a few years ago. I found it so helpful and enlightening to be around like minded individuals. It started as just a meet up and just talk about metaphysical subjects, but it organically evolved into more instruction/ classes. We were meeting in a coffee shop, but we outgrew the space, and they put time limits on space usage (Grateful for the community space, but we needed more time, bigger space). So I converted my basement into the space the group needed, my healing room/ meeting space/ classroom.

2. You operate a New Age store in your own basement. What are the greatest rewards/ challenges of running a business in your own home? I actually do not like to refer to it as a store. I like to focus on it more as a learning annex/ healing space that offers some of the tools you may need on your spiritual path at a reasonable price. So, for example, if we are teaching a “How to Smudge Your Home” class, we will have the items you need, such as sage, herbs, abalone shells, etc. for a very reasonable price. What are the greatest rewards/ challenges of running a business in your own home? Well, the rewards are working with and teaching what I am passionate about (All things Metaphysical) If you love what you do, it is not work…The challenges are the whole family/work balance and setting those boundaries. I am a wife and a mother too, so I need to have family time and space as well .

3. What classes/services does Love&Light333 provide? I am not the only teacher here; I cannot take all the credit. I have been blessed with an amazing tribe of wise people that help teach classes, sharing their time, love, and knowledge as well. We offer class in all things metaphysical such as Meditation, Chakra info, Crystals, Herbs, Essential Oils, Tarot, Inner Healing Work, Past Life Regression, etc. I also offer energy healing in form of Reiki, Crystal Healing, Energy Breath work, Sound Healing, and we offer certification classes in Reiki.

4. What’s your best advice for anyone considering starting their own home-based business? Make sure it is your passion, if you like what you do, it is not work, and keep the family work balance in check, and when in doubt, laugh it out! Remember to have fun with it, find joy in it, because if you are not enjoying it, why do it???

Meet My Cover Photographer, Andre’ Veilleux!

I owe The Puritan Chronicles’ beautiful cover photography to a very talented gentleman from Quebec: Andre’ Veilleux. He responded to my questions in French, so I have translated them here:

1. How long have you been a professional photographer?

Passionate about photography since adolescence, I develop my talent through travel, nature, portraits and photographic experiences of all kinds. However, since 2012 I have been taking professional contracts.
2. Do you have favorite subjects (nature, people, buildings, etc.)?

I particularly like the photo that requires a concept and a certain staging. I also like the portrait and the travel photo.

3. When you do not take pictures, how do you spend your time?

Apart from photography, I have been a professional singer for over 30 years. I practice jogging, kayaking, cycling, tennis and training in the weight room. Let’s say that I am most active.

4. Where is your artwork available for purchase?

I make contracts on request of customers so I give them the rights of diffusion on the photos. I have not done any personal exposure yet … maybe it will come someday. It’s about finding a catchy theme and having confidence in its value.

Meet prolific author Heather B. Moore!

While researching for Puritan Witch, I read many historical novels set during that era to A. Learn about the era and also B. Learn how other authors painted the 17th Century.
One of those authors happened to be Heather B. Moore and the novel I read was Condemn Me Not. The protagonist, Susannah North Martin, was among the 20 victims of the Salem Witch Trials and also an ancestor of Heather’s. Turns out Susannah North Martin, I found out after my books were released, is also MY 10th great grandmother!
So read on to learn more about this fellow author and distant cousin of mine!
Heather B. Moore author picture
1. To date, how many novels have you written? I’ve written over 50 novels, as well as myriad of shorter works.
2. Where can your novels be purchased? Amazon under Heather B. Moore, H.B. Moore, or Jane Redd. Most of my books are available on Barnes & Noble, Walmart (ebook), iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Deseret Book, and Seagull Book.
3. Do you currently have a Work In Progress? Yes, I am currently working on a novel called The Paper Daughters of China Town. Historical Women’s Fiction.
4. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing? I watch a lot of volleyball since both of my daughters play. I also love history, so anytime I can read or watch something historical, I’m in my happy place.
5. What’s your best advice for aspiring authors? Don’t give up! Writing takes time and patience. Attend writers conferences and learn the craft to the best of your ability. We have a lot of opportunities in writing that didn’t use to exist. Now with e-book publishing, print-on-demand, and marketing on social media, writing and publishing is much more accessible than it used to be.

Meet Jewelry Entrepeneur Susan Poper!

Susan Poper is one of the dear friends I made while working at Washington County Free Library. Besides working full-time , Susan also finds time to run be a successful Paparazzi jewelry consultant. Read on to meet this sweet, industrious businesswoman!


1. When did you begin selling Paparazzi jewelry?
Started selling it July 2018
> 2. What do you like most about selling Paparazzi jewelry?
I love the fact that it’s trendy and up to date jewelry which is so affordable for anyone to purchase.
> 3. You work full time at the county library. How many hours per week do you devote to your Paparazzi business?
.mostly 20 hrs a week give or take.
> 4. If someone is interested in your jewelry how can they contact you?
on my fb page Susan Ulery Poper and my business page Sparkle with Suzy 
(or her Paprazzi page)

Meet YA Author Michelle Reynoso!

Name: Michelle Reynoso
1. Congratulations on the release of your latest novel. The Light of the Dying. Tell me about this new release.
Thank you! The Light of the Dying is the next installment in The Girl, the Pendant and the Portal series, book 2 and the sequel to EN. Readers have been very adamant about getting this follow-up ASAP; emailing me, and reaching out on social media, pushing for this second book. So I had to up-my-pace and write this one fast. I released it a year and a half after EN was published. Not bad considering EN took me 15 years to write!  That’s a whole other story.
Here’s a quick synopsis on The Light of the Dying:

A deadly past. An unruly power. Two worlds colliding.

Thirteen days ago, a deadly house fire killed two local teens. Faith McDaniels was there. When more dead bodies start showing up after the fire, the news reports a serial killer on the loose, but Faith knows this is far bigger than a mere serial killer. She fears “He” has returned.

Now it is up to Faith and her energy-bending powers to stop Him before more people die. But as the chaos grows, so does the unpredictability of Faith’s power. Can she get it under control in time to stop this from escalating into the annihilation of the human race?

2. To date, how many books have you gotten published?

This is the third. EN was published in 2018 and I was lucky to get recognized as a finalist in both The New York Book Festival and the International Book Awards.  My first published book was Do You? back in 2003, but that is currently out of print.

3.  Are your books also available on ebook and/or audiobook?

EN is available as a paperback or ebook. The Light of the Dying is available as a paperback at this moment, with the ebook slotted to release at the end of August and a hardover Library edition soon after.

4.  How do you keep your creativity flowing?

It depends on the day, but what helps is coffee, a set writing schedule, and changing my writing location. Sometimes putting the writing project aside also helps during extreme slumps, but it is not always easy to know when to push through and when to take a break.

5.  Besides writing YA fiction, how do you spend your time?

I balance my writing with a full time Contracts Management job. I also do a lot of reading, and usually have at least two books going at one time, sometimes three. I enjoy cooking and spending time with my husband and son, extended family, a cat named Olaf and a tank full of fish.





Michelle Headshot

How do YOU define “Class”?

How does one define class? By integrity and decency? By economic status alone?

Among the list of definitions for class at Dictionary.Com , these are listed:

1. a social stratum sharing basic economic, political, or cultural characteristics, and having the same social position: Artisans form a distinct class in some societies.
2. the system of dividing society; caste.
3. social rank, especially high rank.
the members of a given group in society, regarded as a single entity.
4. any division of persons or things according to rank or grade: Hotels were listed by class, with the most luxurious ones listed first.
5. excellence; exceptional merit: She’s a good performer, but she lacks class.
It’s obvious one can be of high economic status and still lack decency to the point of being a Class A jerk. Just read current headlines.
The worn aphorism of judging a book by its cover was never made more clear to me than when I worked in a convenience store many years ago. Now, I have no way of knowing the social status of the two gentlemen in my story and all I have are my own first impressions, but here goes;
A fifty-ish man in a suit and tie came in, snarling for a pack of cigarettes. Clean-cut, dressed nice, and maybe was simply in a hurry or having a bad day, but he came off as a rude jerk to me.
Same day, a tough-looking biker type wearing all things Harley Davidson with tats up and down his arms comes in, smiles, and actually uses words like “please” and “thank you” when asking for a pack of cigarettes. He also had a pleasant smile.
If class is based on economic status alone, that makes it pretty fluid, right?  A financially strapped college student sits on a low rung, but if Fortune smiles upon her, she could eventually rise out of student loan debt and emerge among the “upper” class.  Likewise, another student of somewhat substantial means may end up flipping burgers because he just can’t find a job in his field.
Even a Marxist society can’t get away from SOME  social hierarchy–a natural pecking order seems inevitable no matter the culture.
I’ve met people of varying social levels with just as varied degrees of rectitude. I hope that I can learn from everyone I interact with. And if they think of me, I hope maybe they think to themselves, “That Peni Jo is one classy dame.”
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My Heirloom Dieffenbachia

I love plants. That said, you’d think our house would be filled with them. But presently (due to small windows and not a lot of direct sunlight and, of course, the cats) we have only  1 resident of the Plant Kingdom; my beloved Dieffenbachia.

In the summer of  1976, my mother attended a Stewart Family Reunion in Colorado ( I think it was Colorado).  She returned home with a Dieffenbachia cutting a cousin gave her.

Mom was a gardener and had quite the green thumb when it came to houseplants as well. Many plants came and went, but the faithful Dieffenbachia thrived for years.

While Mom experienced a brief remission during her fight with leukemia in 1990, she carefully chopped down much of the stalk into 7 sections, giving one to each of us 7 kids. Sadly, the parent stalk Mom so lovingly cared for has succumbed to neglect, and I can’t speak for the sections my siblings received, but mine is doing quite well, thank you!

I know Dieffenbachia are harmful to cats, and indeed, our Kali, when she was a kitten, developed a swollen bottom lip from having nibbled on the plant. Dave said, “It’s the cat or the plant.” So the Dieffenbachia was banished to the sewing room—a cat-free zone.

But it seemed to me the plant felt lonely when I’d see it in the sewing room all by itself. It didn’t seem to thrive as much as it did in the living room. So we invested in some nasty-smelling, bad-tasting spray to discourage any further molestation by the felines, and all has been well for both cats and Dieffenbachia ever since.

When I look at Dieffenbachia, I’m always reminded of my dear mother and I smile, hoping that in whatever form of consciousness it may have,  it senses that it is loved and cherished.




Meet Emmy winner Da-AL!

Just when you thought you’ve met all of my talented friends, along comes Da-al! Check out her blog and get to know this fascinating, creative artist!
Name: da-AL
1. Congratulations on winning an Emmy! When and how did you achieve such an honor?
It was for a documentary I co-produced with a friend about homelessness in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles. Winning it was a happy experience, but also disorienting, which caught me off guard. After the ceremony, as I stood in line for the dinner buffet, someone tapped my shoulder and said, “Hey, you’re one of the winners.” Flustered, I made some sort of excuse. The man said, “But you won.” I continued making excuses!
2. Tell me about “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and its sequel, “Tango & the Sitting Cat.” Why do you call them “anti-novels”? And where might someone purchase your works?
Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” is what I call a ‘move over Bridget Jones and Mr. Darby’ literary novel. It’s a tear-streaked, smile-inducing year in the life of Laia Catalá. Nearing forty, the perceptive journalist remains as real-life inept at love as at dancing her adored flamenco. After a break-up from the South Asian gay man now her roommate, her dating life nosedives from bad to dangerous. High-spirited and engaging, she dreads being alone forever, yet her married friends are miserable. An assignment to report on an Iranian dating site, however, leads her to do what she fears most — seek a husband.
This is Laia’s notebook of missives to her beloved grandmother, Abuela. Sure Abuela’s in heaven. Sure Laia doesn’t believe in the paranormal. But she’s at her wit’s end. An unusual psychic, a transgender workmate, quirky family and more help Laia find how joy lies in believing in herself.
Tango & the Sitting Cat,” a stand-alone follow-up novel, encounters Laia at forty, right after having informed her new husband before the ceremony that she’s giving their marriage a year. If she’s not cut out for the ultimate test of identity, culture, and family, she’ll swear off romance forever.
I call them anti-novels for two reasons. First off, conventional ‘coming of age’ novels are about teens, whereas my life feels like a series of ‘coming of ages.’ These books depict ‘coming of ages’ of a mature character.
Second off, when I began writing fiction, an instructor said the most difficult sort of protagonist to depict is a woman who is neither young nor old. I love challenges! I can’t remember the last time I read about a smart, worldly forty-year-old woman who is sometimes naïve about love in the way that real-life people can be. Also, rather than a typical supporting cast of all-good and all-bad characters, these are multidimensional and confusing in the way of real folks.
At its core, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat” affirm that happiness is available to all us, complicated and unconventional, at any stage of our lives.
As for purchasing them, both are undergoing final edits while I endeavor to gather a following of readers who’ll be eager to enjoy them when they’re published. A big theme when I research successful publishing is that the newness of a book is a big factor. As a result, a writer is wise first to generate anticipation as well as a way to reach people who like one’s type of writing.
3. What other interests do you have besides writing and blogging?
There are so many things I love! Enjoying family, including my wonderful family of friends who I am truly grateful for. Dancing the tango with my husband, especially at parties with lots of dear ones. If there’s great food, all the better! I’m very fortunate to have a doggie who loves going for walks and a very senior kitty who is the absolute sweetest. Keeping fit is a high priority for me, so I’m glad to have found that hot yoga does the trick for me. Cooking healthy for myself and my family makes me happy. Traveling, the kind that involves lots of walking and taking in beautiful sights fills my heart. Seeing live theater, music, and dancing inspires me. And reading! I am totally addicted to audiobooks, my fave being literary fiction, as I can listen in all the odd moments when I’m not writing and blogging.
4. What’s your best advice for aspiring writers?
A) Read, read, read!
B) Write, write, write!
C) Rewrite! And then rewrite again!
D) Experiment and always seek what brings you the most joy because enthusiasm is as contagious as a belly laugh.
E) With anything worthwhile, the attitudes of persistence and patience, of wanting to learn continually rather than merely seeking validation, take us far.
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Maintaining Personal Happiness in the Midst of Madness

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While I have been actively and successfully working on my own personal happiness and growth, senseless violence persists. People are hurt. Lives are lost. Families are left with nightmarish grief.

Within 13 hours, our country has experienced 2 mass shootings. According to Wikipedia, at the time of this writing, the total for 2019 alone is 253.

I’m afraid I am becoming stoic about these frequent and horrendous events. When I first hear of yet another mass shooting, I don’t even gasp in shock. My first thought is,  “Just another day in America.” And I expect nothing to be done.

Because I feel hopeless. Outraged, grieving families form petitions and organizations to combat gun violence, but at this point I am too cynical to even hope any change will occur.

I don’t want to feel hopeless. But I also don’t want to be Pollyanna-ish that a solution will present itself anytime soon.

Meanwhile, I gotta wonder, just what is an appropriate response? If I feel numb, I feel guilty. But I can’t even bring myself to cry about these situations. After all, I was personally  affected. And what good would my wallowing in sorrow do for anyone? I’m extremely grateful nobody I know and love has been affected by any of these horrible events, but it’s awfully disheartening as these occurrences drop like bombs randomly peppering our nation with fear and pain.

I have lately been very happy in my personal life, but my life is brimming with blessings. The trick is to maintain happiness when you are facing difficult times. The truly enlightened folks, like my Buddhist friends, seem to have achieved this happiness. And finding that sort of unshakable happiness is a goal I hope to reach even as our country continues to be afflicted with this never-ending bombardment of violence.