Monday, June 25, 2018

5 Reasons to Write Cozy Mysteries with Guest Ellen Jacobson

Please welcome Ellen Jacobson, author of Murder at the Marina!

5 Reasons to Write Cozy Mysteries

My first cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, was just released, so I thought what better topic for Tyrean's blog than to share 5 reasons why I enjoy writing cozy mysteries. 

1 – My mom can read it.

Cozies are typically gentle and clean reads with no graphic violence, naughty language, explicit sex etc. That means my mom can enjoy my books without either of us getting embarrassed. I think I'd just about die if I ever wrote a book with a sex scene and my mom read it. 

2 – You can kill people without going to jail.

Come on, admit it, haven't there been times when someone has bugged you so much that you may have momentarily wished them harm? When you write mysteries, you can create characters who are inspired by annoying people and have them meet some unfortunate demise. It can be an oddly satisfying activity.

3 – You can share your love of a hobby, occupation, or lifestyle with others.

Cozy mysteries often have a hook which draws readers in, like knitting, baking, owning a bookstore etc. It's a fun way to read about a pursuit that you may personally enjoy (I always enjoy baking cookies) or something that you'll never do in a million years, but which is interesting to learn about. My cozy mystery series is set at a marina and features tidbits about what it's like to own and live aboard a boat.

4 – You can develop quirky characters.

My main character, Mollie McGhie, is what you might call a kooky kind of lady. She has an occupation which is quirky, to say the least (you'll have to read Murder at the Marina to find out what it is). It's been fun creating characters who are a bit odd. After all, odd is definitely more interesting. I've also enjoyed developing characters who the types of people you might find in a marina and boating setting, such as a boat broker, a sailing instructor, and an unemployed boat bum.

5 – You can create puzzles. 

As the author, you get to create clues, red herrings, suspects, alibis, motives etc. and craft a puzzle for the reader to solve. Being an avid mystery reader, it's fascinating to be on the other side of the fence knowing who did it, why they did it, and how they did it.

You can find out more about my personal journey writing and publishing cozy mysteries on my website:

Cover Design—Determining what kind of cover fits your genre, preparing a design brief, and DIY cover design. (

Draft #743—How I went from a blank sheet of paper to finalizing a draft to send to my beta readers, as well as how long the whole process took. {Spoiler alert: It took quite a while.} (

Beta Readers—What beta readers are, how I found mine, what kind of feedback I asked them for, and processing their feedback and making changes to my manuscript. (

Going Indie—Why I decided to self-publish rather than go down the traditional publishing route. (

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.


Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1 

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

Available at:
Amazon (US)
Amazon (CA)
Amazon (UK)
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks
Google Play

Author Bio

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor. 

The Cynical Sailor Blog -
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page -
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

#IWSG June 2018

Blog Hop Captain and Fearless Leader: Alex J. Cavanaugh

IWSG Day Question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

That's a huge toss-up. I mostly . . . struggle with book and story titles. Considering that I write short stories and I submit them as often as I'm able, well, it's not good to struggle with story titles. I usually know what I want to call them after I'm finished writing them. 

So, my current WIP has had at least three different names, and it's "Greenling, Book 1" at the moment. Not very informative, right? It's a superhero book for young teens, either older MG or younger YA. Yes, I should have that nailed down, too. But, I have made some drastic draft changes.

In the draft days, my first novel Champion in the Darkness was either "The Sword" or The Crystal Sword and my youngest daughter drew my first cover in crayon on a blank piece of paper that I inserted into my 3-ring binder of drafts.

Character names usually just come to me in the first draft, or they don't
In Champion in the Darkness, the villain didn't have a name in the first five drafts. She was "the dark sorceress." I finally came up with three different ideas for her name and had a facebook poll. By popular vote (5 out of 8) she became Kalidess. This actually helped with all of my names for the Dark Sisterhood sorceresses, because I decided that once they joined the Dark Sisterhood, they were supposed to change their names and add an "dess" or an "ess." So, Kalidess's sister is Maedess. And, that one locked in the dungeon who didn't change her name, well, there's a reason she's in the dungeon.

My June Insecurity for Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'm co-hosting and I've been having health issues. I actually forgot I was co-hosting until the newsletter came out. Yikes! But, I am here. I will co-host strong in short spurts throughout the day. (My dizziness has been getting slowly better, but it still hits randomly.)

Then, I will probably go into radio silence until an awesome guest post by new author Ellen Jacobson, one of our co-hosts, on June 25. Please come back to support her! 


Next month, IWSG will take place on July 3rd instead of July 4th!

Plus, get your pitch ready for #IWSGPit on July 19th!!!

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 19, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. 

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents. 


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript. 

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit. 

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction