Category Archives: A-Z Challenge 2016

Z for Zzzzzz #A to Z Challenge

happy winner
image courtesy of iosphere at

Whew–the end of the A to Z Challenge and for the second year we made it! Tonight I shall be having a well-deserved zizz.

Have you remarked how often in novels and especially in cozy mysteries, the main character tosses and turns and eventually teases out a particularly tiresome clue in his sleep?

A dream sequence appears almost obligatory at some point. It underlines the mental strain the hero or heroine is suffering, it re-presents clues in a different format. It also allows for your main character not to be on top form the next day so that yet another complication in the plot can appear more baffling than it really is. ūüôā

I’m not a great fan of the dream sequence in cozy mysteries but like it or not, it is omnipresent.

Sweet dreams–not-so-sweet dreams. I’m off for a well-deserved Zzzzzz.

sleeping Zzzzzz
image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

X for X Marks the Spot #A to Z Challenge

Xs made from lemons and limes
Thanks to Viacheslav-Blizniuk for the lemon and liime Xs found at

X marks the spot¬†instantly brings back memories of favorite childhood books, treasure maps and just knowing there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

There’s something very exciting about the idea that someplace there lies a¬†hidden treasure.

The illustrated Xs created from slices of lemons and limes add a quirky, exotic flavor to the thought.

In the cozy mystery, you can use innumerable locations and so have innumerable Xs to stand for places where events have occurred, or places where clues are hidden, or simply places where characters interact and interpret or misinterpret what is happening.

Many of the most famous cozy mysteries have a place in the book title and the place provides not only the background but a deeper clue to the mystery.




U for Unfinished #A to Z Challenge

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
photo by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of

Gaudi started work on the construction of the Sagrada Familia in 1882.  Now almost a century after his death, work to finish the build is still moving ahead. But even unfinished, the wondrously sculpted Roman Catholic cathedral attracts millions of visitors per year.

So what has this to do with your cozy mystery?

  1. Whatever the problems, never give up.
  2. Even unfinished, your writing always has something to say. You may decide to rework your novel to make it work. You may decide to lift sections to use in other books. Nothing you do is ever wasted unless you let it be.
  3. A book takes readers on a journey. Enhance it. Let your characters travel. A recent Amazon bestseller had  reviewers praise it for its travel descriptions although they felt the story lacked pace.
  4. Nothing like fleeing through a mysterious building to add suspense to your cozy.

Revisit your Unfinished Manuscripts

My unfinished manuscripts sit in boxes under the bed, in filing cabinets in the garage, on my hard drive. When I do look at them, I am always surprised by scenes I had forgotten, characters who scream to be allowed to tell their stories.

It’s always worth taking a look again–maybe expand a short story or reduce a novel to a novella. If the problem is plot failure. rework the outline.

The finished work could always add to your Kindle back list The more the merrier when it comes to sales.