Snuffed Out by Valona Jones – Magic by Any Other Name – Guest Post + Giveaway

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Snuffed Out (Magic Candle Shop Mystery)
by Valona Jones

About Snuffed Out

Snuffed Out (Magic Candle Shop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Savannah, GA
Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)
Hardcover 304 Pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639102051
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639102051
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09XM5PKP7

Twin sisters Tabby and Sage co-own a candle shop, but will it all go up in flames in Valona Jones’ series debut, perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Bailey Cates.


30-year-old fraternal twins Tabby and Sage Winslow own The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah. Sage is hot-headed and impulsive while Tabby is calm and collected, making them the perfect partnership. When one of their customers is found murdered, from a blow to the head, that partnership is put to the test.


Blithe McAdam had been seen in a heated argument with shop clerk Gerard, which immediately makes him suspect number one. The twins are convinced of Gerard’s innocence and start digging into Blithe’s past. But no one is cooperating. The neighbor who found the body isn’t talking, medical examiner Quig won’t give any details about the autopsy, and nasty rumors begin surfacing about the drowning of Blithe’s father years earlier—evidence that could seal Gerard’s fate.


Tabby and Sage dig desperately for the truth. But it’s not only their friend who’s in peril. With the clock ticking, the twins find themselves in the grip of an unseen and deadly energy that has seeped into their midst—and in the sights of a ruthless killer.

Magic by Any Other Name by Valona Jones

Twins Tabby and Sage Winslow follow their family’s policy of adamantly denying anything to do with magic. After all, they never use spells or charms, and it’s a known fact witches have been persecuted throughout human history.

As a refresher, here’s the definition of this much-maligned vocabulary word. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, magic is: “the use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces. magic rites or incantations.”

So, you see, the twins profess they aren’t witches because they don’t fit the definition. Mostly. Oh, there are no magic rites or incantations, none at all. But the Winslows have skillsets most people don’t have, so while their extra gears may fit a broader interpretation of magic, for personal safety they deny any association with the word.

Do you know that there’s a known principle of “like attracts like”? You see like-like displayed sociologically when people of similar natures form clubs, or people of the same ethnic background live near each other, or when school kids divide into established cliques of band kids, jocks, nerds, and the others.

However while like attracts like, there is also an opposite truism: people with a strong connection avoid/repel/eliminate those who don’t share that connection, depending on the strength of their conviction. Think politics, Crusades, cults, and so on. And, in fact, being around a single person who is very different than you (or doesn’t respect you) will likely cause you to avoid them. Harking back to high school, think of someone most people avoided. They probably looked the same as “normal”, they had good hygiene, they attended school regularly–but there was an “otherness” quality about them. What did you do? I bet you avoided them. It’s easier that way.

That’s how it was in school for my characters Tabby and Sage, twin sisters who live in Savannah, Georgia. On first glance, they pass for normal, but there is an otherness vibe about them that can’t be explained, so kids bullied them and called them witches. The twins hated school until they learned how to defend themselves. Then the other kids left them alone. They became socially invisible.

Although they were lonely, the sisters didn’t have to pretend so hard to be normal. Instead they relied on each other more and more, though as fraternal twins, they showed different aptitudes and interests. For instance, young Tabby enjoyed helping her aunt in the family candle and soap making business, while young Sage enjoyed everything about plants.

They survived high school. Then Tabby tried college while Sage traveled to Europe. Both attempts at independence were disastrous, and the twins ended up at home on Bristol Street in Savannah, back in their family apartment above The Book and Candle Shop. Like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” they discovered the hard way, there’s no place like home.

But their magic but not magic–the reality of it–is ever-present in their minds. They must keep the family secret to protect their small family. When they are thirty, they inherit the family business, and in order to keep their special energy-station-of-a-home, they must keep the business profitable. It is often barely possible by normal means. The math of it falls short.

However, their hidden talent of being energetics gives them an edge. With their Other Vision, Winslows read auras and see when someone is happy to be in the shop or in a hurry to get home, so they know who is receptive to a sales pitch. As such they build their customer base of regulars and because of the “good energy” in the shop, the shop gets hyped on tourist apps. The good energy emits naturally from Tabby and her aunt. Sage contributes to the good energy by growing lush ferns to keep the shop air forest fresh.

When danger comes, the twins use their energy manipulation skills for protection, careful to only stop trouble and not kill anyone. You see, they take or give energy to people, and they use energy spears as weapons. Tabby also has another way to use energy, but that’s a secret…Technically, energy conductors may appear to be supernatural to ordinary people, but that status is entirely natural for the Winslow twins.

And yes, it’s splitting fine hairs to deny magic, but the Winslow family policy keeps them safe. Meanwhile, their regular customers see through their nonmagical nomenclature. Repeat customers feel better in the shop and when they use Winslow-crafted aromatherapy products at home.

Some privately call the store the magic candle shop.

About Valona Jones

Valona Jones writes paranormal cozy mysteries set in Southern locales. Her work blends mystery and the unexplained, along with a sprinkle of romance. A former scientist, she’s drawn to the study of personal energy. She sharpened her people-watching skills as a lifelong introvert and thankfully had a bank vault full of personal observations when she began to write fiction. Her forthcoming release, Snuffed Out, A Magic Candle Shop Mystery, is slated for January 10, 2023, release. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where time and tide wait for no one. Visit her at

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks for that comment, Anne. I’m very happy to have Snuffed Out featured here at Brooke Blogs on the book’s Great Escapes Book Tour. Thanks so much for your hospitality. Maggie Toussaint/Valona Jones

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