Friendly Faces


They say that writing itself is a solitary act, but to find the stories worth writing about, you have to step out of the confines of your imagination and enter the real world every once in a while.


I know. It's hard for me, too.


That's why making connections and forming friendships with those who understand the love/hate relationship with words is so important to your growth as a writer.


Below are some of the friendly faces I've met through writing and publishing. Check them out and say hello!




Monica Leonelle

Monica is the author of YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi series Waters Dark and Deep and Socialpunk as well as the Growth-Hacking for Storytellers non-fiction series, which includes such popular books as Write Better, Faster and The 8-Minute Writing Habit. Formerly from Chicago, Monica and I met through blogging five years ago. She's been my writing partner (and trusted confidante) for the past two years and was one of my editors on Gold in the Days of Summer. Be sure to check out her work!


Louise Caiola

Louise is the author of the Young Adult books Wishless and The Making of Nebraska Brown and two upcoming collections of short stories. I met Louise serendipitously while she was on vacation here in Lancaster County, and we quickly bonded over a love of books and writing and dreams of authorship. Happily, that dream has come true. She has some great titles in the works, so be sure to say hi on Twitter and follow her on Facebook for updates!

Cynthia Morris
Original Impulse

Cynthia is an author, creative coach, artist, and the founder of Original Impulse, a website and business devoted to empowering writers and artists to live a creative and adventurous life. I first met Cynthia at La Muse Inn in 2008, where we shared walks and talked about her now-published historical novel Chasing Sylvia Beach. Also the author of a number of writing guides, Cynthia's free spirit and creative energy has been one of the greatest inspirations of my own artistic journey. Be sure to check out her illustrated journals and see what creative adventures await you!


Shahnaz Habib

Born and raised in India, Shahnaz is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor whose work is frequently showcased in The New Yorker and The Guardian. Her fiction has been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers and 21 Under 40.  Shahnaz was awarded a Writer-In-Residence fellowship at La Muse Inn in 2008, where I had the privilege of meeting and working alongside her. She's also the founding editor of Laundry, a literary magazine featuring fiction and creative non-fiction about fashion. Say hello!

Brenda Lee Sieglitz

Freelance writer and blogger, Brenda is the author of Ebb from the Shoreline: Finding Cancer and Courage. Crafted around blog entries written over the course of her relationship with her first husband and his battle with cancer, her book is a beautiful story of grief and hope. I met Brenda on Twitter, along with a number of other local writers, back in 2008. A writing group was formed offline and friendships blossomed over shared dreams and a love of writing. Brenda's book won first place in the 2014 North American Book Awards for Editor's Choice Non-Fiction. Active in the local community and a National Park Services volunteer, Brenda has also won awards for her writing and talks on grief, travel, and cancer. Reach out and say hello!

Barbara Searles
Kick Pain in the Kitchen

Barbara is a health and wellness coach, certified massage therapist, and founder of both Confident Wellness and Bodyworks Integrative Health,  two companies which promote holistic healing. In addition to her impressive resume, Barbara is also the author of Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat. I met Barbara through Twitter back in 2008, and as we share many of the same health grievances, she has become a confidante and dear friend over the years. Her book explores her personal health journey and provides practical and applicable tips to create healthy eating habits aimed at healing your pain naturally. Her book is one I keep close by to help manage my own chronic pain, and Barbara herself is both knowledgeable and inspirational. Check it out!

Leta Hawk
(Deb Daniels Lerew)
Hawk's Happenings

Deb, who writes under the pen name Leta Hawk, is the author of paranormal/fantasy books for young adults. The Newbie is the first book in the Kyrie Carter Paranormal Mystery series and is followed up with the newly released book two, School Spirits. She's also currently at work on a YA fantasy/romance novel based on the Arthurian legends. I met Deb at our alma matter's homecoming event and have had the pleasure of getting to know her since. Reach out and say hi!

Andrew Brown
Design For Writers

 Andrew is a graphic designer helping writers tell their stories. From cover designs to author websites, he'll work with you to create your vision. I learned about Andrew's services through another author's website and immediately knew I wanted to work with him for Gold in the Days of Summer. With professional suggestions, he was able to capture my vision and the very essence of the story for its cover. He's since designed my Gold in the Days of Summer website and the cover for my second book, The Last Letter. Reach out to him on Facebook or Twitter for personal service and high-quality design!

Kerry Eielson & John Fanning
La Muse Inn

Originally from New York City, Kerry and John left their jobs in publishing, moved to France, and created a bucolic space for writers and artists to pursue their work.  (Okay, so it was a lot harder than that.) Nestled in a quaint mountain village in the South of France, La Muse Inn is a writer and artist retreat with one simple purpose: get inspired. I had the privilege of staying at La Muse back in 2008 on a barter basis in an experience I'll never forget. Writing, reading, and fresh croissants: what more can you ask for?

Tania Hershman

Tania is an award-winning short story author who manages to bridge the divide between literature and science. Born in Israel and making her home in the UK, Tania was originally a science journalist. I met Tania at La Muse Inn in 2008, shortly after the release of her first collection of short fiction, The White Road and Other Stories. She has a fresh approach to writing, and her mastery of flash fiction is nothing short of inspiring. She's the founder of The Short Review, which offers reviews of short stories and collections. Her most recent collection is My Mother Was An Upright Piano. If that title isn't enough to convince you to check her out, I don't know what will!

Andi Cumbo

Andi is a writer, editor, and teacher and the author of The Slaves Have Names, a non-fiction book featuring the stories of those enslaved on the plantation where she was raised. I had the pleasure of meeting Andi through our local writing community, where she generously extends her expertise and support. She regularly interviews authors on her blog and hosts writing retreats at her beautiful Virginia farmstead, God's Whisper Farm. She also has the most adorable animals. Be sure to join her free writing community and check out her upcoming books!

Christopher C. Hall
The Earthking Chronicles

Author of Earthking: Book One of the Earthking Chronicles, Chris is another writer and good friend I met through Twitter and our local writing group. His book, recently released, is an epic fantasy about a young boy forced to become a king. I had the privilege of reading an early draft of this book and was immediately taken by the talent with which Chris can paint a picture. Happily, Chris is already at work on Book Two. Stop by the Earthking website and check it out for yourself!

Jared Conti
The Oracular Beard

Jared is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Back in the Saddle: My Love/Hate Relationship with the Space Cowboy and Least of These. He might also be the most entertaining speaker I know. I met Jared when a group of alumni authors and I were invited to our alma matter for a homecoming book reading event. Although I didn't have the privilege of knowing them in school, we quickly bonded over our shared love of writing and adventures in publishing. Jared is currently working on a series of post-apocalyptic novels set in and around Central Pennsylvania. You can find his poetry, comic reviews, and awesome beard on his website. Seriously, check out the beard!

Jade Heasley

Jade is another writer I had the pleasure of meeting at our alma matter's homecoming author event. The best-selling author of 1980s Kid, How To Rule the World, and Bratty Becky and the Firecracker Kid, Jade has been featured on podcasts and broadcast radio shows across the US. A college professor, Jade released A Professor's Book of Secrets for College Success in 2014. Her memoir, 1980s Kid, is a humour memoir about growing up in the 80s. In addition to her books, she maintains the 1980s Kids Blog in which she regularly interviews those who shaped pop culture in the 80s. Feeling nostalgic?


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© 2021 by
Susan Pogorzelski.