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Cobalt Blue: A Novel

A novel for courageous readers and seekers, COBALT BLUE is a turbulent, gorgeous ride into sacred sex..

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Peggy Payne’s novels venture into the realm of the supernatural, ranging from mainstream religions to the occult.

Her stories take place at the intersection of the physical and spiritual. She feels called to write these particular stories, rather than making a personal choice to do so.

She hadn’t even planned to write fiction. By the time she’d started her first novel, Revelation, she’d spent years as a travel writer, TV and newspaper reporter, magazine nonfiction writer, from Ms. Magazine  to Travel & Leisure and Cosmopolitan. After writing from more than 25 countries, she had expected to keep rambling about the world for the rest of her days.

But then came the overwhelming need to write fiction, an event much like a spiritual awakening, and as it turned out, to write specific stories.

Peggy dates her first glimmers of interest in writing to the third grade, when she thought:  “I could never be a writer, because everything I write sounds like me (not like real writing.)”

Her career then unfolded in fits and starts.


  • Eighth grade: when a homework writing assignment unexpectedly emerged in rhyme, she discovered writing can be fun.
  • Tenth grade: Peggy learned that writing can produce school prizes, ground-level fame, identity, and an excuse for any personal peculiarities.
  • Duke University: She discovered that there might still be things to learn about writing.
  • Writing jobs:  Summers at hometown paper StarNews and, post-graduation, two years at The Raleigh Times, including covering desegregation of the local schools. Learned: One can get (a little) money for writing!
  • Age 23: Blind leap! Quit job and became a freelancer. Spent about 15 years writing travel stories and other nonfiction: from Poland for The Washington Post, from Wales for The Dallas Morning News, from South America for The Chicago Tribune. Covered the North Carolina legislature as a live on-camera reporter for public television.
  • Also at 23: Had a mini-religious experience after an interview with famous parapsychologists.
  • Thirty-something: Returned to her office from covering a government meeting, frustrated by being an observer without a vote. Started writing a novel, creating a world of her own, that included a strong supernatural presence.

Rest of Life So Far

Published three novels:

Revelation: a liberal university minister hears the voice of God, which disrupts his life, marriage, and church

Sister India: a troubled American woman flees to a Hindu holy city on the Ganges, only to discover that she hasn’t escaped

Cobalt Blue: an artist in a conservative golf resort town has a mysterious spiritual and physical experience that initially tips her into sexual compulsion and a desperate search for answers.

My Life On Earth And Elsewhere: sixteen-year-old Darcy falls in love with a spirit boy and struggles to live in two worlds


  • Wrote a history of Doncaster women’s clothing company,
  • Co-authored The Healing Power of Doing Good, p
  • Produced a great deal of copy for ad agencies,
  • Started her ongoing consulting service for writers, offering manuscript critiques and career counsel.
  • Published in anthologies including God: Stories, edited by Atlantic Monthly fiction editor C. Michael Curtis, New Stories from the South, and Remarkable Reads. An interview with her, “Writing and Revelation,” is included in Dale Brown’s Of Fiction and Faith: Twelve American Writers Talk about Their Vision and Work. Her work has been honored in Best American Short Stories.
  • Received an NEH grant to study fiction at Berkeley, and an Indo-American Fellowship to research Sister India in Varanasi, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, the Sherwood Anderson Award, a 2014 IPPY for Visionary Fiction, and others.
  • Spoke in venues from Banaras Hindu University to Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.


Peggy Payne writes and works with other writers, from her home, a log house on a pond in rural Chatham County, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, a retired psychologist. From his special interest in clinical hypnosis, she learned much that contributes to Sister India being repeatedly described by critics as “mesmerizing” and to My Life On Earth And Elsewhere being called “magical” and “luminescent. It shines with a special kind of light.”