Cozy Mysteries and Friendship

By Sparkle Abby

How is it possible that summer is over, kids are back in school, and the snowbirds are already flocking to Florida?

As the summer whizzed by, we’ve continued to faithfully work on our new series set in the fictional 55+ community, Shade Palms. We’re absolutely falling in love with our new cast of characters as they’re living their best lives, sleuthing out killers and cheaters, and figuring out what reinvention means to them.

One theme we’ve found to be true in our series as well as real life is the importance of friendship. Lately, it seems there have been many conversations about the challenges presented by retirement isolation and loneliness, particularly if friends and family are scattered or preoccupied with their own lives.

The value of friendship is so important! Friends offer emotional support, help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and even improve cognitive functions. Mark Twain famously said, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Whether you’re retired like our characters, or just find yourself lonely or feeling isolated, we encourage you to take action! Here are five things you can do to begin creating meaningful friendships.

  1. Join a club or group: There are many clubs and groups that cater to people with different interests. Joining one of these groups can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests and form deep friendships. You could consider joining a book club, hiking club, art class, or volunteer group, among others.
  2. Attend events: Look out for events in your community that interest you, such as music concerts, art exhibits, or workshops. Attend these events and strike up conversations with people you meet. You could also attend events that cater specifically to women over 55, such as workshops on retirement planning or health and wellness seminars.
  3. Use social media: Social media can be a great way to connect with people and make new friends. Join groups on Facebook or LinkedIn that are geared towards women over 55. You could also use to find groups in your area that share your interests.
  4. Take up a new hobby: Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. Consider taking a cooking class, learning a new language, or taking up a new sport.
  5. Attend a retreat or conference: Attending a retreat or conference focused on women over 55 can be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and make new friends. Maybe think about one in a different location. Perhaps someplace you’ve always wanted to visit.

Remember, forming deep friendships takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation and to be the friend you’re looking for.

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve also started a YouTube channel to talk all things retirement!

If you’re interested in checking out our YouTube channel, you can find us at  Our most popular video, You’re Kids Don’t Want That, already has almost SIX THOUSAND views! Who knew a convo about decluttering would be so popular?!

sparkle and abbey

Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the other neighbors.)

They love to hear from readers and can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the website

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