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The Ink PENN

Opinion: Vintage Pizza to host A Novel Idea

I recently wrote about the revival of A Novel Idea, an event that features local authors discussing their books. Many thanks to Vintage Pizza for signing on to host this year’s first in-person meeting on Dec. 7 and thanks also to the proprietor of the East Cobb bookstore Bookmiser, who will be on hand to sell books by these authors.

The plan is to hold both virtual and in-person events throughout 2022, beginning with a Zoom session in January, followed by another Vintage Pizza event in February. What will you find at the December event? Four authors representing four different genres, a tasty selection of food and beverages, an audience of avid readers, and the opportunity to pick up holiday gifts. I’m already pulling together my shopping list. Check out the authors you’ll get to meet.

Susan Sands—Southern fiction

Susan has three grown children and lives with her dentist husband in Roswell. A self-described late bloomer, Susan began writing her first novel at age 40 and compares her challenging journey to publication as “raising another child — a difficult one.” Susan has published five Southern, contemporary women’s fiction novels, with another four coming in 2023, and is the recipient of the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year award for romance. She describes her humorous small-town stories as fun, romantic and filled with big family love.

Her Christmas-themed books — “Noel,” “Alabama and Christmas,” “Alabama” —will take center stage in December.

Chris Negron—Middle-grade fiction

Chris grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. and currently lives in Atlanta. His debut novel, “Dan Unmasked,” was recently honored as a finalist in the Young Adult category of the 57th Annual Georgia Author of the Year Awards. “The Last Super Chef” is his second middle-grade novel from HarperCollins and has already been named a Kids Indie Next pick for July/August by the American Booksellers Association. Chris's books are usually about his favorite things: comic books, baseball and competitive cooking shows, to name a few of them.

Kathy Manos Penn—Cozy mysteries

Crier readers already know about my writing career, but here’s a short recap:

As a corporate escapee, I went from crafting change communications to plotting page-turners — populated with well-read, witty senior women, a sassy cat and a loyal dog. Years ago, when I stumbled onto a side job as a columnist for the “Crier,” I saw it as an entertaining diversion from the corporate grind. Little did I know that my chance foray into writing would lead to a soon-to-be six-book cozy mystery series — much less the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Award in the Mystery-Sleuth genre for Book I — “Bells, Tails & Murder.” Book III, the seasonally appropriate “Whiskers, Wreaths & Murder” will be in the spotlight on Dec. 7.

Ain Drew, author / Shamar Knight-Justice, illustrator—Children’s fiction

A writer and educator based in Stone Mountain, Ain spends most of her time with her son DJ and their dog Simba. They love being outdoors, traveling and eating all types of cuisine. “Ari J.’s Kinky, Curly Crown” is her first children’s book.

Shamar Knight-Justice is an illustrator based in Atlanta. He grew up with a crayon in his hand and a love for patterns. He currently serves as the principal of an elementary school in Southwest Atlanta, where his scholars' stories and personalities inspire him to create illustrations that honor their identities. When not drawing, Shamar loves to spend time hoarding collage materials, going on long walks with his family and devouring the nearest pancake.

Now, are you intrigued? Have you marked your calendar? Did I mention shopping? In all seriousness, given the supply chain issues we read about daily, this opportunity to shop local while enjoying an evening of Book Talk is not to be missed. I hope to see you there. Now, I’m off to make my list and check it twice.

Award-winning author Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her Dickens & Christie cozy mysteries on Amazon and locally at The Enchanted Forest. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook.

The Ink Penn

Award-winning author Kathy Manos Penn is a longtime columnist for Appen Media and the Dunwoody Crier. She lives in Sandy Springs.