top of page
  • N. N. Light

Old Mountain Cassie by @TonyaWrites is a New Year New Books Fete pick #inspirational #giveaway



Genre: Multi-genre: Inspirational, Spirituality, Faith, Humor Magical Realism,

Book Blurb:

In the quaint Appalachian village of Divine, brooms sweep shop owners outside to trade tales of the latest Old Mountain Cassie sighting. Local lore claims Cassie holds the secret to a prosperous and joyous life...but only for seekers so destined.

Lacey Jordan's fascination to meet the mountain sage intensifies as she eavesdrops on the latest Cassie chatter swirling around her outside Holsom's Market. And a mystified Lacey believes if she can spend time with Old Mountain Cassie, the confusion and chaos that have plagued her life will lift.

What are these sacred and mystical lessons of Cassie's that offer the keys to "living life amazing?"

How will Lacey ever find the mountain recluse tucked away in the woods? Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons is an inspiring, tell-all-your-friends celebration to read. Cassie and the folks of Divine offer a special recipe for an extraordinary life. A generous portion of humor, an extra helping of insight, and a taste of mystery and romance will leave readers both fulfilled and hungry for the next story served up Mountain Cassie style.


Chapter 2

Hidden by a stand of rhododendrons, Old Mountain Cassie watched through wise eyes, a smile dressing her face. She’d seen Lacey on hikes often and had been witnessing a change in the young woman. The forest dwellers amplified this shift as they announced Lacey’s visits and moved closer to make their introductions known.

Cassie knew a Seeker when she saw one, and this pretty little gal had just begun the desired awakening. The older woman secretly studied the younger one. Confidence on the outside hid Lacey’s confusion churning on the inside. “Yep, Seekers have to find their truth once nudged…their special gifts in the proper time,” Cassie whispered to her dog, Lickety Split.

Cassie had made the same journey long years past to understanding the ancient truths…The Three Lessons on how to live life amazing. It’d been easier for her than it would be for Lacey. The path toward finding her gift was nurtured easy-like by the women in her family. Each took the knowledge and grew it in their special way…in their special time. The gift manifested in ways that were unique for each Seeker, ways that were often vexing too.

True, Lacey hadn’t met the older woman studying her from behind the green thicket, nor could she know that Old Mountain Cassie would soon become her teacher. Cassie had helped other Seekers gain understanding to discover their unique abilities. Cassie knew God sent a Seeker only when she felt ready for the undertaking, but the time wasn’t right this day.

Old Mountain Cassie grew her patience with a deep breath, trusting that the joy of gaining a new student wouldn’t cause her to reveal herself yet. This Lacey would be a challenge no doubt. The younger woman had grown many years grounded in her society. Parting with those known ways to blossom boundless toward a fresh way of living would not come easy at first.

Two young deer emerged from the thickets to join Cassie, their velvet noses pushing her departure. “Okay, okay, I understand. Guess it’s time I be moseying home.” With one final glance at Lacey chatting to her companion cardinal, Old Mountain Cassie and her dog slipped away.

Chapter 3

Lacey entered her cottage. She exchanged her hiking boots for a pair of navy flats and caught a glimpse of her puzzled face in the hall mirror. The day had left her changed and full of questions. Serene’s familiar knock told her the quest for understanding the job loss and forest encounters needed to be postponed.

Serene flew past the open door. “Hey, listen, I’ve been thinking about this whole job loss thing. I can only imagine how hard this has hit you. All I’m going to say on the matter is that something grand will present itself and make you glad you’re not in that pressure cooker job. The stress has been enormous on you, and I think—”

Lacey raised her hand to protest.

“Won’t say another word. Nope, not even a syllable.” Serene grinned as proof she’d left the serious talk behind. “So, tell me, how did the hike treat you? You didn’t go looking for Old Mountain Cassie?” She paused. “Did you?”

Lacey started to object.

“I know. I know. You can’t help being obsessed to hear any village chatter about our recluse, not to mention the constant hope for a Cassie sighting.” Serene studied her friend’s face, waiting for a reply.

“Okay, I admit to still feeling a smidge intrigued—”

“A smidge?” Serene rolled her eyes. “Oh, never mind. Let’s go. I’m so hungry that I could eat squirrel.” Serene snagged her friend’s purse, propelling them out the door.

“Funny you mentioned squirrel. I met a cute one today, but alas, no sighting of Old Mountain Cassie.” She gave an exaggerated sigh and then winked. “Let’s walk the few blocks to Paulie’s Pizza Palace, and you can share the news if you sold any Divine real estate this afternoon. That’s far more interesting.” Lacey led the way, setting a quick pace for her hungry friend.

Paulie’s wasn’t much of a palace, more a converted stone house with a quirky roof and a narrow walking bridge that crossed a noisy stream. Only if Lacey drank enough of Paulie’s Chianti and squinted did she glimpse something castle-like in the design.

Paulie could turn a pizza even better than her old favorite haunt, Mama Leone’s in Brooklyn, which Lacey had discovered thankfully just blocks away from her apartment. Mama fed her weekly, and now she had Paulie filling that need with his crust that was buttery delicious with a savory crispness, making it as unique as Paulie. “My pies once tasted, make yous’ mine for life,” Paulie liked to tell new customers.

“Wonder what our Pizza Man Extraordinaire has in store for us tonight?” Serene asked, bringing Lacey back to the present. They stood inside the entrance with their hunger, waiting for Paulie to seat them.

“I feel like something veggie…no animals.” Lacey wrinkled her nose, thinking of her forest friends she’d met earlier.

“What? You love his jerk chicken pizza.”

“Ugh. No feathers either. Not tonight,” Lacey muttered, feeling queasy at the thought.

“Well, well, ladies, come on here. I’ve got a booth right in the corner, so yous’ can chat it up like always.” Paulie’s flushed round face meant he’d enjoyed a busy night. His stocky shape was easy to ignore when his caring, brown eyes settled on anyone in his midst.

The two sat, smiling up at the hardworking guy whom everyone liked as much as they did his food. None of his regulars got a menu. Instead, Paulie served his “special customers” the pizza he felt matched his read on them.

“So, what yous’ want to drink this lovely spring night? Serene, I have you a nice cold brew in a frosted mug. Am I right?” he asked with a wink.

“You know me, Paulie.” Serene tucked the napkin under her chin and started making friends with the wooden bowl of buttery pretzels.

“Lacey sweetheart, I think you want a drink other than your usual. I got my ears on. Speak.” Paulie’s proud Italian upbringing was captured in every phrase.

“You’re right as rain. I think hot tea would be lovely.”

“Hear that, Serene? Tea. No fizzy water. I sensed she wasn’t feeling it for the usual,” he replied, having fun with the girls.

With her mouth full of pretzels, Serene could only manage a nod.

“Well, okay then. You, two fine ladies, just relax now. I know just the pie to bring each of yous’ tonight.” Paulie departed, stopping at each table to see if things were “copasetic.” He prided himself each week on learning a new word and didn’t mind sharing it with his patrons. Satisfied that everything was indeed copasetic, Paulie went back to the kitchen to place the orders.

“Paulie’s something. I bet he gets lonely.” Lacey dug into the pretzels with gusto.

“Him lonely? You’re kidding. Paulie lives at his Pizza Palace. People are here all the time.”

“Yeah, but he’s closed two days each week. Wait a minute here, are you wanting to date Paulie?” Lacey latched onto the idea of Serene and Paulie ‘mingling.’

“No, of course not, but I was just thinking whom we might fix Paulie up with, you know, an evening out and maybe a movie. Nothing intense.”

“Count me out of matchmaking. Barbie’s still not speaking to me. And she’s my hairstylist, so not good.” Serene reminded Lacey.

“Well, honestly, how could you know the guy you hooked her up with had a huge spider collection?”

“On every wall. Very creepy. He seemed so nice.” Serene ended with a sigh.

“Like I said, your motives were well intentioned.”

“You’re right. How did I know he was president of the Ardent Arachnology Club? Good that I didn’t find him a property to buy. He’s staying put in the nearby town.” Serene sat back, done pleading her case. She eyed the empty pretzel bowl with disappointment.

They looked at each other and burst out laughing. The two friends spent the next twenty minutes chatting about various doings in the quaint mountain village. They shifted the conversation to the season’s favorite topic… the always anticipated Divine Day Festival. Planning it always brought everyone out of winter hibernation. And Divine did love its celebrations. The pizzas arrived, staving off any more talk until the first bite could be savored.

“Paulie takes personal pizza to a whole new level.” Lacey stared down at her pan. The crispy crust lay covered in cheese but topped with the surprise of pine nuts. She grinned, recalling her squirrel friend earlier, and fell in love not with Paulie but with his concoction. Now, this pie was indeed copasetic.

“Good grief. You actually like that squirrel and bird topping? Give me my beloved pepperoni and Italian sausage any day. Yummy!” Serene snagged a slice.

“Yous’, gals, all happy…copasetic-like?” asked Paulie, making another round.

“Oh, man, I love you for giving me my dose of Italian heaven tonight. The flavor of the sausage is spectacular.” Serene looked up at Paulie, giving a wide-tooth grin to her “pie pleaser.”

He returned her smile that said more than “cheese” to a surprised Serene.

“Paulie, I’ve never had pine nuts on pizza before. I absolutely adore this. I won’t dare ask how you knew.”

“Babe, Paulie has senses others don’t,” he replied, though his brown eyes never left Serene’s face.

Lacey took in the bonus of observing her two friends. Maybe…just maybe, she thought.

Lacey picked back up on discussing the mayor’s idea for a new theme for Divine Day Festival. That topic carried them through to the end of the meal. Standing outside the restaurant, the two friends hugged good night and turned in opposite directions.

Lacey set a slower pace during the few blocks back to her cottage. She glanced up at the night sky. How the universe spoke to her spirit when she paused to connect. She walked up her sidewalk, thinking the rocker on her front porch looked lonely and decided to keep it company. What better place to review the day’s events and watch the stars travel. Funny how the loss of her job wasn’t a part of the look back. No, it revolved around the encounters in the woods and Paulie making her the strange but delicious pizza. Embracing the cool evening air, Lacey realized she’d forgotten to share any of the hike’s details with Serene.

She and her rocker found a rhythm. A shooting star traveled across the sky as if connecting the dots of one star with another. Was that maybe what life was about? Connecting the dots each day to form a picture of a life lived? Then what did the dots show about her time so far? Nothing out of the ordinary, and for the first time, that awareness left her feeling…unsettled.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities. Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2023? If so, please share one.

My resolution is to commit 4-5 days a week to my writing chair. I won’t even abandon it for cheesecake but I’m out of it if I win the HGTV Dream Home.

Why is your featured book a must-read in 2023?

Cassie and the friendly folks in Divine offer the steps for discovering the answers you seek and the path to joy and prosperity. The story takes you on a journey and invites you to explore the secret to having your own amazing life.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.

Runs January 1 – 31, 2023.

Drawing will be held on February 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

As an author, Tonya’s moved by the effect humor and narratives have on readers. That observation illuminates why her stories often convey messages inviting personal exploration. She is enthusiastic about crafting stories with beguiling characters, adding dashes of snappy humor, and engaging dialogue that leaves her fingerprint on each page.

When Tonya relocated to the mountains, she found fresh writing ideas waiting. From her favorite porch chair gazing at a tranquil lake, the nudge to scribe her first novel came calling. From her beach chair, she got the idea for a cozy series, Shell Isle Mysteries. Tonya confesses new respect for a chair’s ability to motivate writers. She chases her writing joy from the mountains to the seashore.






The characters of Page and Betsy keep chattering to Tonya, so expect future stories in this collection.




VENETIAN RHAPSODY (Releasing 2023)


Tonya’s fiction and non-fiction stories are published in numerous anthologies, e-magazines, local press, and literary magazines. Find Tonya listed in the Poets and Writers Directory.

Please consider this your invitation to visit:

If you enjoy Tonya Penrose’s (pen name) novels, please tell others and do leave reviews.

Social Media Links:


5 comentarios

Karen Michelle Nutt
Karen Michelle Nutt
17 ene 2023

Sounds interesting. Tweeted.

Me gusta

12 ene 2023

This sounds good. & my resolution is to learn to organize more. To make time to read & exercise more.

Me gusta

Jan Sikes
Jan Sikes
05 ene 2023

This book is waiting for me on my Kindle and I look forward to reading it! Congratulations to Tonya!

Me gusta

Rita Wray
Rita Wray
05 ene 2023

I liked the excerpt.

Me gusta

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
05 ene 2023

Thank you, Tonya, for sharing your book in our New Year, New Books Fete!

Me gusta
bottom of page