Category Archives: Uncategorized

W is for Willpower #A to Z Challenge

notepad courtesy of Stuart Miles at
photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Willpower is the determination to finish what we start, no matter what. For the cozy mystery, the easy option is to write the end first or at least just after the first act.

For this genre, I find it important to know where you’re finishing up if you want an easier life.

It makes it faster to plan an effective route, choose the best clues and insert them as you go. It’s almost like drawing a map through your Table of Contents–not sure if that makes sense but I see each chapter following the next like a river. All my characters then embark on suitable boats and sail along with various diversions and dilemmas en route.

But having the end in sight helps me pull them (and me) through the rough water of the middle. And when the end is written, I’m far less likely to give up.

Again, like the first chapter, the final chapter may be written and rewritten. But at least it’s there as my safe harbour after a stormy passage.

It bolsters my willpower and ensures I keep going on to the end.



V for Variation #A to Z Challenge

paper flowers
photo by satit_srihin courtesy of

A lot of fuss is made about formula fiction. Critics complain that cozy mysteries are all the same.

But the variation in the best cozy mysteries is infinite. The characters, settings, plot points are always different.

And cozy mystery buffs like the basic formula of an amateur sleuth solving a not-too-horrid murder in the face of opposition from police (sometimes) and villain (always).

A good book will sell a good series. Those of us who love them swallow them like chocolates. We are truly addicted. We are comfortable knowing that the books will follow a puzzle formula that we love. We are comfortable knowing that good will triumph and restore the world order.

The V could have stood for value because…   or villain because … or vamp because there usually is one.

It certainly could stand for valor as the main characters stand strong in their belief in justice –not always conventional but always understood to be on the side of the good guys.

Are you a cozy mystery reader or writer? What value do you gain from a good example of the genre? Who would you recommend?

S for Sleuth #A to Z Challenge

Such a funny word sleuth. Makes me think of board games and long ago novels. It conjures up old busybodies and peering through magnifying glasses to find clues in the days before tech took over.

The word itself is very old and found in Old Norse, meaning a track or trail.  In Scotland, from the 14th century, a sleuthhound was a bloodhound. It hunted game or tracked down fugitives from justice.

Then in the nineteenth century, sleuthhound was used for a detective and  shortened to sleuth.  (etymology found through Merriam Webster)

 lady detective and sidekick
photo courtesy of stock images at

But in the world of cozy mystery. the amateur detective is more often young, running her own business, and reliant on a female confidante.

The only thing she has in common with the detectives in past series is often the lack of ready cash.

And, of course, the threat she faces to her own way of life, if she does not investigate the crime and unmask the criminal.