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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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I definitely couldn't write a sex scene. Of course, my mom doesn't read science fiction, so she's not reading my books even without a sex scene.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Tyrean - thanks so much for hosting me and being part of the Murder at the Marina blog tour & fiesta!

Alex - I'm with you. I don't think I could write a sex scene. A smooch on the cheek is as far as it gets. :-)

Cheers - Ellen

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't know that I could write a mystery - I don't think my mind can plot out the puzzles, the red herrings etc. I have enough trouble with the logic of my own scary stories!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I couldn't write a mystery but I do like quirky characters.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean and Ellen - yes ... lots of pros - but sadly I don't think I'll be writing a mystery or murder anytime soon - cheers Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

LOL about your mom being able to read it. Cozy mysteries are so popular. I've liked every one I tried. They're great for reading on the beach. Congrats to Ellen

Natalie Aguirre said...

Funny reason that your mom could read your story. I love mysteries but not sure I could create all the puzzles and questions and pull them together. Congrats on your book, Ellen!

Jennifer Lane said...

My editor talked me through my panic about releasing my debut romance novel. While I complain about some of my family members not reading my books, in this case it was a blessing!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - I'm with you on that, too. I would die of embarrassment or laughter, before anyone else read it.

Ellen - it's awesome to have you here! I'm sorry I slouched off commenting until late.

Madeline - I think there are logic puzzles and red herrings in every story. Your horror stories definitely have their "whoa" moments when I realize that I've been looking at the wrong baddie.

Diane - me, too! :)

Hilary - I understand. I've written and read sci-fi and fantasy so long that I'm not sure I know the right paces for a mystery. I keep thinking of a few good ideas, but then . . . past the first page, I have nothing.

Susan - I love that cozy mysteries are so popular. I think the genre shrank for a while and now it's grown again. I noticed on my trip to Europe last year that mysteries seem to be even more popular there, especially in London.

Natalie - I'm with you on that. Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer - I can understand that. :)

The Cynical Sailor said...

Madeline - keeping track of everything is one of the hardest parts for me. I have to plan it all out ahead of time.

Diane - One of the things I love about cozies are the quirky characters. The quirkier the better :-)

Hilary - It's a fun genre to write in, but there are others ones I want to try one day too.

Susan - I think my mom is my #1 fan, so I have to make sure she can read my stuff :-)

Natalie - I definitely have to map out the mystery before I start writing, otherwise I'd get really confused.

Jennifer - I can imagine that with romance, sometimes it is better if family and friends don't read that genre.

Tyrean - You're not a slouch at all :-) Thanks again for having me.

Mark Noce said...

I love cozy mysteries. Although I recently spoke to a publisher who said that they're having trouble selling them lately. I find that difficult to believe though.

Erika Beebe said...

Loving the story, Ellen. I like the tip on how even your mom can read it :)

The Cynical Sailor said...

Mark - Interesting that cozies are hard to sell lately. I believe many cozy authors lost/didn't have their contracts renewed a year or so ago.

Erika - Thanks so much!

Heather R. Holden said...

Great list! I absolutely adore quirky characters, so that's definitely a plus for cozy mysteries, for sure!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it - those are great reasons for writing & reading cozies!!!