Wednesday, July 26, 2017

5 Ways to Create Those Cozy Characters!

PART THREE OF OUR MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR: HOW TO WRITE A COZY MYSTERY!

Did you grow up reading any of these?

  • Trixie Belden
  • Cherry Ames
  • Sue Barton
  • Nancy Drew
  • Hardy Boys
  • Agatha Christie

My Cherry Ames books (some from my older sisters!) in an attic cache here on the farm.
Your kids probably read some of these (and maybe your old copies of the above!)

  • Nate the Great
  • Cam Jansen
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Boxcar Children
  • Babysitters Club
  • Bunnicula (and Friends)
Look at these! Old favorites, well-read and dog-eared, the way a good book should be!
And then we morphed to adult books... We got educated. We realized that while Arthur Conan Doyle was pretty smart, literary minds were reading coming of age (sometimes downright depressing) book-club type books. (note that I am naming no names, no offense intended... but I do have a nasty habit of THROWING THOSE BOOKS across the room. My bad.)

Now that's all well and good, but the audience for cozy mysteries hasn't gone away. In fact, with the baby boomer generation pretty much heading toward or in retirement, there's a huge and growing audience for these sweet, funny mysteries. 

The brochure from GUIDEPOSTS.COM announcing our Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard series and I love the models they used for Priscilla (second from left) and the three cousins she discovers on the island!
We talked in June about Cozy Story Structure (that blog post HERE!) and then the delightfully smart (I had to get the word delightful in there, it drives Tina bonkers.) Nancy Mehl swung by and talked about Writing the Cozy Mystery HERE... so part three of our Magical Mystery Tour is all about characters.

Have fun with your characters! They don't have to be goofy... but it's good for the reader to have Sudden Sympathy with the main character for whatever reason. If it's a series, you want that main character to grow slowly over the life of the series. Maybe gain insight. But you have to start with book one, right?

  • Is your main character a man or a woman?
  • Single or divorced or widowed? (He/she can be married, but you tie up an important component of conflict and emotion then.)
  • Age?
  • Why are they where they are? (This is a big question. In "A Light in the Darkness", my new mystery from Guideposts "Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard", Priscilla is a widowed farm wife whose family had been estranged from her Massachusetts family for decades. Priscilla hasn't been to the island in fifty years. Now she's inherited a lighthouse after a long, cold, gray, lonely winter on the Kansas prairie. She's adrift... and what better place to hang your life boat than an ocean island?)
  • Friends? Friends can provide LOTS OF FUN and FRICTION just like in any story, but it's magnified in a cozy. You can give them one-liners, one can be dry, one can be prissy, one can be engaging, one could be sacrificial... You can pick and choose, because if you develop this story into a series, you get to grow these characters along with your plots!
  • Family?  (Think of the conflicts that can arise if your dad is Sherlock Holmes. Or Miss Jane Marple is your grandmother. Or Monk is your socially inappropriate brother.) Does your main character have family nearby? Or are they thrust out of their comfort zone on their own?
  • Pets. Pets are big in cozies... heck, sometimes the pet is solving the crime, pointing out the obvious. Folks love to "see" things through the eyes of cat, dog, bird, etcetera. Don't be too wild... but let your imagination run wild!
  • Neighbors. Neighbors can be a source of irritation or inspiration, all depending on your direction. Or both! Most folks have more than one neighbor, right? And if the neighbor is an incidental pain in the bum or a motherly type who bustles and reveals clues in all innocence... Wonderful!
Love this brochure, also included in the mailing! 
Think of the future-- Yours and theirs!!!-- when casting your cozy(ies). You want the characters to have room for growth and refinement, so it's okay to let them swing a little free in this first story. Don't think about this particular plot as you develop the characters. Rather, think of the town. The neighborhood. The precinct. The parish. The community surrounding the sleuth.

The plot in a cozy is a structure, similar to romance structure. That structure can be inserted into the situation and then you tweak the setting and have the characters respond IN CHARACTER... and voila, all of a sudden, you've got the makings of a series! GO YOU!

I said before that I never thought I'd write a mystery... and then I wrote one and fell in love. With the town, with the premise, with Priscilla, a woman my age who gets caught adrift when her life takes an abrupt and unexpected turn. 

Secondary Characters are C-L-U-T-C-H.
A cozy needs humor. Quirks. Emotion. Red herrings.... and these secondary characters are the best! You want your secondaries to create balance... and disrupt the smooth ride. Use a few repeating characters from book to book (if you're contemplating a series) but it's all right to bring in new quirky or solid characters. Agatha Christie made Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and the funny, sweet couple Tommy and Tuppence. 

Although isn't Hercule Poirot supposed to be dark-haired and dark-mustache???  Here's the trailer for this fall's new version of "Murder on the Orient Express"... which looks marvelous! Even with Poirot's hair!

A mystery needs suspects. Now these can be recurring characters who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or new characters with a reason to cause harm... Or a past that haunts them. It doesn't have to be major in a cozy. They might just be stinkin' mad about the circumstances or screening a loved one... Those personalities are what engage the reader, drawing them into the story. 

You can order the first book... written by yours truly!... RIGHT HERE! And when you order the book, add MMV30 into the "DISCOUNT CODE" box and get 30% off! 
Cozy mysteries are crazy popular... like Amish romance, there is a huge audience for lighter fare as documented by this article

Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers created an oath for mystery authors: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?

To be part of their mystery author's group, one was required to speak the oath! I (for my own part) enjoy a bit of Jiggery-Pokery now and again. :) Whatever that is! 

Genres vary. Sales go up and down. As a small business operator, it's good for authors to spread their wings. Teaching ourselves new techniques and embracing new opportunities is like a long-standing teacher changing grade levels. Ten years teaching third grade is great, but there's a wonderful growth curve when you're thrust into fifth-grade lesson plans... and that's the kind of shake-up we authors can use from time to time. Not to change what we do... but expand our baseline.

Hey, I've got a copy of "A Light in the Darkness" to give away today, book one of the Martha's Vineyard series... and I'd love to give it to you! Leave a comment inside and let's talk about what you're doing to make your dream come true this year... if a door closes, are you hunting for that promised open window?


Coffee and peach pie are on the countertop... because what is better mid-summer than homemade peach pie? And you can find my favorite peach pie recipe right here! 

Multi-published, award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne loves to chat with folks... and write sweet books. She is also this years "Chicken Coop Builder" and is soon to be listed on the docket of "Donkey Shed Builder". She takes these awards most seriously and will (no doubt) feature a woman who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and scuffed up in an upcoming book... which might be part of her Shepherd's Crossing cowboy series, coming in 2018 from Love Inspired! Research takes on a whole different note at Ruthy's house! :)  Find her online at ruthloganherne.com or friend her on facebook at Ruth Logan Herne where she loves to talk... and meet readers!


102 comments :

  1. I admit I haven't read too many cozies. Straight-up mysteries are hard for me to figure out, the whodunit type where you have to keep track of clues (so not me), unravel those read herrings (no idea how) and maybe in the end have a good idea of who the culprit is. Now, to give myself credit, I know it's never the most obvious suspect...lol! I can watch a crime show on TV and figure it out better than a book and no idea why. Maybe because I'm more visual? I think my favorite type-mystery is the suspense genre.

    My son used to love reading the Hardy Boys/Boxcar Children/Nancy Drew books. We used to check out whatever the library has or peruse yard sales/thrift stores for them. I remember reading some of the Babysitter's Club books as a teen.

    I'll pass my piece of peach pie to my husband, warmed with vanilla-bean ice-cream. I'm not a huge peach pie or cobbler fan...I know it's odd, but what can you do? ;-) But I will take a cup of Joe, never pass on that!

    Toss my name in the kitty dish for A Light in the Darkness, thanks so much Ruth!

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    1. Trixi, it's funny how genres rise and fall, and I stumbled into this current rise of mysteries quite by accident... and God's hand! But it's crazy fun to see them taking off again, rising in popularity. I'm tossing your sweet name into the cat dish!

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    2. Trixi, I think you and I were buddies on this in Ruthy's last post about cozies -- that neither of us read them a lot. But apparently, WE are in the minority!!

      BUT we differ on one VERY major point, my friend!! You said: "I'm not a huge peach pie or cobbler fan..."

      I forgive you! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  2. I grew up with Cherry Ames, Sally Baxter Reporter, Donna Parker camp counselor, loved them. I then progressed to Agatha Christie. We had more of the English books than the American ones although my brother had The Hardy Boys. I like cozy mystery as they are not to heavy with suspense.

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    1. Jenny!!! So great to see you!

      I love cozies too. Huge fan of them. Can't wait to read Ruth's DELIGHTFUL new release.

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    2. Jenny, it's about time you got over here! Waving across the pond from a very cool Western New York! The article I linked to in the post talks about what you mentioned... that folks like cozies because they're not heavy... and the humor makes them endearing! And Tina!!! These are like the most delightful stories ever... light, fun and friendly! :)

      As I finish up my second mystery for this series, I'm contemplating what to do for #3... and when you're on an island filled with interesting characters and history, the options abound!

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    3. (its Jenny here on my other profile) on red herrings I have read a couple of books with one in they are mentioned and I wait and wait and wait (get the picture) for them to be mentioned again or explained only to have them not mentioned again in the book. It can be quite annoying.

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    4. Jenny, it is good to see you, hope you are feeling better. I read Donna Parker too! A company called Whitman published her and Trixie Belden, and you could get them at the Five and Dime.
      Kathy Bailey
      Waxing nostalgic in New Hampshire, USA

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    5. I never read that one! But I remember Whitman for publishing!

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    6. I agree with Tina, Jenny -- SO good to see you here, my friend! And cute pic!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    7. Thanks Kaybee I am still having pain issues and its gotten worse in the past month or so. but I am hanging in there.
      I loved Donna Parker I so wanted to be a camp councellor

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  3. Favorite cozies include SAnn Gabhart and of course the wonderful Sparkle Abbey!

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  4. Oh what memories of all the cozies I never knew were cozies until now. I also loved the Adventure series by Enid Blyton. I think it might classify as a cozy.

    I love meeting all the characters that walk onto the pages of a cozy and love getting to know them.

    Please toss my name into the drawing for a copy of A Light in the Darkness. Thank you for the chance to win a copy Ruthy!

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Cindy, you're welcome!!!! And isn't fun to look back at those faves? And maybe time to come up with some new ones!

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  5. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Agatha Cristie. I have a vivid memory of climbing aboard the icy cold Bookmobile, on a hot July day, and discoverng The Boxcar Children...love them! Great post, Ruthy! As for my dreams, I'm following God's lead. Please toss my name into the hat. As a lighthouse lover, I adore that cover!

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    1. Tossing your name in... and I love that cover, too. What a great design team. And I can totally picture you and that Bookmobile! We didn't have those, but I remember reading about them, and what a marvelous idea! Spurring kids to read is the best way to create the life-long readers we all love!

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  6. I LOVE cozy mysteries. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Baby-sitter ' s Club. I had to ride my bicycle four miles to our library, but in one summer, I read the entire Nancy Drew series. I was hooked. Somehow I had time to squeeze in reading while running around the neighborhood all day with my friends. I still enjoy a good mystery today. God bless.

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    1. Kelly, we're twins! I did the same thing, but I had to walk to the library about 2 miles away... but I read everything I could get my hands on, including the copies from my sisters... and new copies from saving babysitting money... and the library. We can be besties!

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  7. What a multitalented person you are!

    I loved Nancy Drew. By the time her books were handed down to me they were pretty ragged so I even re-covered a book with some cloth. I did that as part of a 5th or 6th grade book report.

    I now live near Toledo Ohio and about 15 years back I read of the death of Millie Benson. She was a journalist in our area who ghost wrote the early Nancy Drew books along with several other mystery series. Check out her bio on the internet sometime. My husband gave me a short bio of her for a gift. It was a children's book but it was interesting.

    Please throw my name in the dish for your mystery. I've enjoyed all your different styles so I look forward to checking out your mystery.

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    1. Bettie, your name is in and yes, I'd heard of Millie as one of the writing team... it was the first time I'd ever heard of using writing teams/individuals to create a quick series... and here I am, doing it today with a great group of talented authors... only we get to use our own names. YES! :)

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  8. Hi Ruthy
    I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown and Sherlock Holmes mostly. Have never read the Boxcar Children or the Baby-sitter's Club. Now that Guppy is reading, I'm hoping to grab his imagination with the mystery genre. Of course, right now he is very much a Star Wars child - he even asked his first grade teacher to please call him Luke - because he wanted to legally change his name to Luke Skywalker (I explained the concept of trademarks to him when I told him that wasn't possible - first disappointment for him).

    ANYway... I love cozies and I love all books Ruthy, so I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO wanting to get this Guidepost series that includes you. I think they picked the best author to start things off with you! (of course, I'm a tad biased... but that doesn't make it any less true :) )
    Name in draw please. I am keeping tabs on the link to buy "just in case". Looking forward to reading the book either way.

    And the post was great too. I don't think I'm clever enough to write a mystery because I can't even pull off a surprise party for anyone. That's sort of what the ending of a cozy is - a surprise party for the reader to find out who the bad guy really is.

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    1. I'm laughing at you not being clever enough... because of course you are! But I thought the same thing until Susan Downs broke it down for me last fall... and I realized that it would be so much fun to be part of this!

      Your sweet name is in, and you will love, love, love this series. Absolutely... (wait for it, Tina!!!) DELIGHTFUL!!!!

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  9. Sue Barton is the only one I didn't read. I've moved my Nancy Drew books with me my whole life. Even though I had sons, I couldn't part with them. I even have two of my mom's Nancy Drew books.

    I love cozy mysteries! Thanks for sharing, Ruthy!

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    1. Jackie, I love having mine upstairs. I won't get rid of them, they are like old friends. :) Nancy and Cherry and Agatha... Oh my stars!

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  10. Good morning Ruthy!

    What great timing. Just the morning I was telling my husband I needed to do something quirky w/the nanny in my wip. Secondary characters can take the story up a notch.
    Yesterday I saw a article/pic of a 71 year old body-builder. Ok, her body looked a tad bit strange, but how many times have I actually seen a 70 year old in a bikini? And I think it's great she's able to compete. I'm not making my nanny a bodybuilder, but it did remind me to step up my character.

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    1. I love secondary characters and having them be quirky or have a past or be wise or drunken... ;) We've reformed a number of people, haven't we???

      70 year old body builder... more power to her. And I think it's huge for women to support each other, no matter what our differences because we have this little part when we're in groups to disdain... and that's so harmful to us as a gender.

      Go, women! :)

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  11. What a delightfully inspiring post, Ruthy! I want to go out and make my own cozy mystery! I may just do that. Why not? I have all the tips right here at my fingertips in one post. Would love to win/read "A Light in the Darkness"! Please put my name in Angela's (Murder She Wrote, lol, this post just brought her to mind.) I grew up reading Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie. I even collected all of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books to pass on to my kids. Needless to say, they didn't read them. So I still have them. And read them. I discovered Goosebumps books when my son was in high school. I have those books too lol. My daughter read some of the Boxcar children. I am making my dream of being a published author come true this year by working hard, writing hard, learning all I can, researching, listening, reading. I'm on vacation next week and am bringing my book stuff with me to continue on the process. My word for this year was expectation. I'm expecting. And when you expect (whether a baby or company-you're working in the meantime)you're continually working toward a goal. Thanks, Ruthy, I am delightfully inspired this morning!

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    1. Kids are brats. That's all I'm sayin'. :)

      My boys read Goosebumps, and so did Beth, I think... And I love your goals, Sally! When we charge forward with firm goals, it's so much more helpful and real to us.

      I love the word expectation.

      It's chock full of promise. :)

      As are you!

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  12. Please put me in the drawing. I usually write that at the END of my comment, but I'm so excited about a Ruthy mystery I didn't want to leave anything to chance.
    I'm a huge mystery reader, then and now. Loved what Sayers did with Lord Peter Wimsey, how he evolved from a somewhat shallow Bertie Wooster-type to a deep and complex human being, loved watching his and Harriet's relationship unfold, my favorite Wimsey book is "Gaudy Night," which explores gender roles in the 1930s, seals the deal on his romance with Harriet, AND solves a corking good mystery!
    I feel very British today, which I'm not, but we're going to see "Dunkirk" this weekend. WWII was truly their Finest Hour, as Churchill said, and one tends to forgive them what they did to Ireland, Scotland, India, Africa and of course us. They are a remarkable people. Also they gave us Mssterpiece Theatre, so there's that.
    I would love to write a mystery, probably cozy because I'm not a cop or a PI, but I know I'm not ready yet. One, I need to brand with inspirational romance and build up an audience, and two, I would find the plotting challenging. I'm still working on that aspect of craft. That said, there seems to be an element of mystery or suspense even in my romances, so we're on our way.
    One good thing about cozies...the protagonist can be young, middle-aged or old (um, Older).There aren't as many age restrictions, although I agree with you that a married heroine reduces part of the story arc possibilities. But Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Schulz was married to Tom through most of the series, and she did pretty well.
    On the flip side, one of my all-time favorite series, Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael, featured a medieval monk, so there was NO romantic story arc there. The other relationships are so rich you don't miss it.
    SPEAKING OF WHICH...Anybody watch "Grantchester" or "Father Brown" on PBS? Yet another thing to thank the Brits for.
    I'm going for a drive around the New Hampshire lakes with my daughter. This is kind of a bucket list summer, I'm going EVERYWHERE because I don't know what next summer will bring. May be back later.
    Love you guys,
    Kathy Bailey
    Seiaing the Day in NH

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    1. Father Brown is wonderful. I love British tv!

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    2. And I love the bucket list summer!!!!

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  13. Fiddle-dee-dee (different genre), but how I do run on, just looked at my previous post. One more thing: the willing suspension of disbelief, especially if your cozy is set in a small town, which most of them are. You wonder HOW many bodies can be found in a town that size, and why is your amateur sleuth on the scene for so many of them. Just sayin'.
    Cozy-wise, I also like Katherine Hall Page's Faith Fairchild series and Sarah Graves's "Home Improvement is Homicide" series. And I enjoyed Virginia Rich's "Mrs. Potter" mysteries, about a wealthy widow who tended to find bodies at each of her three homes. They were cooking mysteries, like Diane Mott Davidson's. Rich died and Nancy Pickard finished the series. I liked the idea that this vibrant older woman could still have a life, and one that mattered.
    KB

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    1. I definitely agree that you have to suspend disbelief. Small towns aren't going to have that many murders and the main character isn't going to just be there for all of them without becoming a suspect! But I can look past that and enjoy!

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    2. Well that's my problem with the murder aspect... Who wants to live there??? Crazy!

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  14. Should have been "Seizing the day."

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  15. Ruthy, you had me at Trixie Belden. Actually you had me before that. I can't wit to read your cozy mystery and even with all your patient teaching, it still boggles my mind how you can switch back and forth between the genres like that and give us wonderful stories, no matter what category. You are one talented lady and I am so glad you have chosen to share your talents with us!

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    1. I hope you love this story... I sure do. And working with Guideposts has been wonderful.

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  16. I loved all those books as a kid. I haven't thought of Cherry Ames in years! I don't read a lot of cozies anymore, but I'd love to read yours :)

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    1. After Dana Girl Mysteries, Trixie Belden was my favorite! I hadn't considered writing one of my own children's cozy mysteries. but perhaps, that's in my future. Please put my name in the drawing.

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    2. I forgot the Dana Girl mysteries! I think I only read one... Maybe two?

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    3. Glynis, I loved Cherry and her bouncy dark curls!!! 😎

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  17. Hi Ruthy, Nope, never read those books. I skipped kids books and jumped right into my mom's romance and historical novels. Lots of biographies also. But am loving the peach pie recipe. Thanks.

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    1. Sandra, that's so funny. I devoured kid's books... And was a teenager before I found sweet romances... Which I still love. SWOON...

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  18. Good morning!! Pass the peach pie (yummmmmmy!!!) Ms. Ruthie, you make me want to write cozies!! I grew up reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Loved those books! My kids have done the Boxcar Children and Bunnicula. I loved Scooby Doo but that showed scared the daylights out of me as a kid. Okay, kinda still does. I know...I know...they solve the mystery "thanks to those meddling kids..." but still!

    I can't wait to read this series you're doing. so toss me in the drawing, pretty please with sugar on top and thank you for the coupon code!!

    I've been working hard on my dreams and I'm LIVING the dream. still on cloud 9. can't help it. :) But I'm working hard on a new story and at the moment, building those characters.

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!!

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    1. Sharee, I'm thrilled for you! So good to hear a new story is in the works!

      Janet

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    2. Sharee, I am so happy for you! Happy dancing up here and can't wait for your debut suspense!!!

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  19. Ruthy, great post! Can't wait to read your cozy! I was a big fan of Murder She Wrote on TV, but honestly--I'm barely able to type this--I don't know what I read as a kid. I know I took as many books as allowed when a book mobile visited our school, but can't remember feasting on any one series.

    Janet, slinking away, red-faced, but I'll come back soon for the peach pie!

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    1. Janet, you're so funny... Whatever you read or didn't read, I am so glad you bless us with your stories! And you will love this peach pie!

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    2. It's not so funny when you're looking for your memory and it's gone AWOL. But the peach pie helps. Thanks!

      Janet

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  20. RUTHY, thank you for the great post! I'm excited to read your new cozy!

    That peach pie is YUM!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. First reply got eaten! Caryl, tossing your name in and hope you love it!

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  21. I am really enjoying your posts on cozy mysteries. I love reading them and writing them. They are fun!

    I finally finished the one I was writing, sent it my agent and it is making the rounds to publishers!

    Hallie Ephron has a good how-to book for writing mysteries. Appropriately titled: Writing and Selling Your Mystery novel.

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    1. Good luck with it, Rose. I want to read it so hope it gets published soon!

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    2. Thanks, Sandy! I enjoyed your family vacation pictures.

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    3. I am so proud of you! Rose, that is awesome... And aren't they so much fun????

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  22. I'm a Nancy Drew girl! I grew up reading those and maybe a few Hardy Boys as well.

    Ruthy, I'm so excited about this book! How fun that you enjoyed it so much. My sister is a huge cozy reader, so I need to get her a copy, too!

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    1. I concur! 😎 And I love that your sister is a cozy groupie! Super smart family!

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  23. Ruthy, I have enjoyed these posts on writing the cozy mystery. I received a Trixie Belden book for my 9th birthday and was hooked. I couldn't get enough of them.

    No need to put me in the drawing. I have the book (and the free tote bag) on its way to me. Hopefully it will come soon. I am excited about this new Guideposts series.

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    1. Sandy, that's wonderful that you got hooked into reading so young!

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  24. Well done, Ruthy!

    I'm praying about whether it's time to move to a dream house or if I should continue waiting on the Lord. And while I await His answer, reducing clutter so there's less to move when the time comes. You probably meant writing dreams. Still working on short nonfiction stories. Slowly but surely making progress.

    Please enter me in your drawing for a copy of "A Light in the Darkness"

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Phyllis, moving is such a huge decision! I pray you feel a strong leading.

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    2. I believe in all kinds of dreams, Phyllis... and I think houses sometimes aren't all they're cracked up to be. This isn't me being critical... more like introspective. Because the older I get, the less that matters. Is that age, wisdom or experience talking?

      Or simply dislike of cleaning???? :)

      Wherever your dreams lead, I'm keeping you in prayer.

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  25. Hi Ruth:

    Wonderful post. I never have to look to the bottom of your post to know who wrote it. It's almost as if your words have red hair. You are the real 'hook' in everything your write.

    Love this quote:

    "...that's the kind of shake-up we authors can use from time to time. Not to change what we do... but expand our baseline."

    In sales training classes we teach that "the same success that built your comfort zone also acts to keep you a prisoner within it."

    In other words,

    "When you are green you can still grow but when you are ripe you can only get rotten."

    BTW: Isn't the above quote structured as a Moral Premise? Wisdom should be made of sterner stuff. Or not.

    Is there a kindle version of "Light in the Darkness"? While Amazon has many Kindle books with that same title, your 'light' seems lost in the darkness. :(

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    1. Vince I like the 'comfort zone' quote. It strikes me as being a deep truth.

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    2. Vince, this is your best quote I've read in a while: "It's almost as if your words have red hair."

      LOL!! Love it!!

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    3. Hahahahha! The red-haired words, LOL! Tina would say that means I'm repetitive!!! :) But she still thinks I'm delightful!

      Vince, there is a Kindle version for $7.99!!!! How cool is that? It's on the same page, you don't go to Amazon, you go to the Guideposts page. They do their selling in-house only and that way they know who/what/when they're reaching.

      If you go to the link, the Kindle is one of the $7.99 options below.

      And I believe change makes us stronger. I see it as a growth opportunity, some of the strongest authors I know have faced change and adversity and emerged like BIG MONARCHS, wings extended... so I'm a strong adviser of embracing change!

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    4. Vince, I love your version of the quote!

      Janet

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    5. LOL, Vince, I SO agree with Missy -- the red-hair quote is AWESOME and soooo true! Couldn't have said it better, seriously!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    6. Ruth: Wow! I just got the Kindle version of your book, they applied the discount code, and I could use PayPal. People need to know this. So don't put me in the drawing. I'll have it read by the WE! Maybe :).

      Vince

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    7. Hi Missy: The funny thing about that 'red hair' quote is that I typed it before I realized I wrote it! I read it and thought, "Where did that come from?" That was 100% pantsered! David Mamet said that you must pantser your dialogue or else the audience will hear it as being contrived. I now know just what he means. Of course, he writes movies and plays but he is very much into Aristotle so he gets my attention.

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    8. Hi Julie:

      You wrote:

      "Couldn't have said it better, seriously!!"

      I think that is the highest praise I've ever received! Seriously, without a doubt!

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  26. I grew up on cozy mysteries as well. Trixi Belden, Nancy Drew. The Hardy Boys. Boxcar Kids. Of course I didn't know what they called, but I liked what I read. :)

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    1. Pam, the cozy term came years later, but it's a good one to separate these from real thrillers or whodunits or suspense where the damsel in distress is hunted... And these are so much fun!

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  27. The cozy mysteries I've written, three a while back, were so fun, but also hard. I thought they were the trickiest writing I've ever done. The red herrings, the threads to tie up. The false suspects. It was all really HARD. I think it takes more plotting than I'm used to doing.
    Fun to have characters so over the top quirky though.

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    1. Mary, you made it look EASY. I blame you. I figured if you could do it, so could I. :)

      Seriously, I thought it would be hard, but then realized it was more like following a map... which I do well!... than like building a puzzle... which I don't like at all.

      My attitude changed instantly.

      Oh.

      And they paid me.

      ;)

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    2. This is what scares me about suspense and mysteries, Mary -- you said:
      "The cozy mysteries I've written, three a while back, were so fun, but also hard. I thought they were the trickiest writing I've ever done. The red herrings, the threads to tie up. The false suspects. It was all really HARD."

      I just think an author has to be pretty on the ball to write suspense or mysteries, and I'm too afraid to go there.

      But I do agree with Ruthy, Mary -- you made it look easy, my friend. But then you make everything look easy! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  28. I was a big Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew reader. I read them all over and over.

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    1. Me, too.... I loved them even if I knew the ending. I'm still like that with music and books.

      Lame, right?

      But satisfying.

      And movies.

      Ridiculously repetitive with movies.

      Sigh.

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  29. I don't read many mysteries, but am so anxious to read Ruthy's! Please enter me in the drawing!
    THANKS!

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    1. Jackie, you are in! And thank you for being excited about this. Me, too!!!

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  30. Such a fun post, Ruthy! I LOVE mysteries...cozies and others...and suspense! I have LOTS of favs...read lots as a kid and more as an adult. When I owned my Tea Room I sold the delightful Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs. Who wouldn't love a mystery called, "Death by Darjeeling," or "Shades of Earl Grey?" Sometimes customers would buy a book and the same type of tea for a gift! Oh, those lovely tea room days...sure do miss my cute little cucumber sandwiches! Thankfully, I keep Darjeeling tea handy!

    I can't wait to read your new mystery! And, I'll get a copy for my Momma too...she's a big fan of cozies...

    Have a tea-riffic day and congrats on your new book!!



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    1. Kate, I believe that's a series that my sister has loved! Such cute names!

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    3. How fun! Does your sister love tea also? I'm in awe of the clever use of names of tea for book titles. Another cozy series I am fond of is, "The Cat Who...." books by Lilian Jackson Braun...those two Siamese cats are always up to something!

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    4. Kate, she's not a tea drinker that I know of. But I did just text her to ask about the Cat Who series!

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    5. Well, she hasn't read the cat series. But she said the Tea Shop Mysteries is why they vacationed in Charleston last year! LOL

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    6. Isn't that wonderful! She should tell Laura Childs her Tea Shop mysteries inspired a trip. I bet the author would get a kick out of hearing that!

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    7. My father had the entire Cat series... there was a used book store around the corner from his liquid establishment... so he'd stop in there and get used Cat books (and Agatha Christie and others) and then stop by the liquid refreshment establishment... There were always stacks of mysteries around and when he got sober ten years later, he shared those stacks of mysteries with my sister... also an avid mystery lover! So that's interesting, the love for mysteries might be genetic!!! :)

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  31. Ruthy, my dh has read most of the Agatha Christie books, especially loves Piorot! Must tell him about the upcoming series.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, you mean "Murder on the Orient Express"? It's a movie... just so you can tell Dale about it! And coming out this November, I believe... (along with two Ruthy books "The Lawman's Yuletide Baby" and "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" which has just been sent for REVIEW... and I hope the reviewers love it!)... NOVEMBER... it seems like a long time, especially since I'm loving summer... so I won't count the months and realize it's closer than it should be!

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  32. Hey, Ruthy, When I was young, I did really like the Nancy Drew mysteries, I will admit, and I even read an Agatha Christie or two. But nothing else -- not Trixie Belden or the Hardy Boys, not even once. Mmmm ... does Victoria Holt count because I LOVED her!!

    I SO admire your foray into cozies, my friend, and am cheering you on from afar! ;)

    HUGS!!
    Julie

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    1. The weirdest blog thing just happened... every time I hit "reply", the blog appeared instead of a comment box. In all of these years, I've never seen anything like that happen. Hmm....

      I loved Mary Stuart and Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney suspense when I was younger, but now I get nightmares if things are too suspenseful... and then I can't sleep. And writers need to sleep! I do read Debby Giusti and Shirlee McCoy and a few others, but I honestly have to be careful about what pictures I let form in my head.

      And I do love Debby's Amish suspense books! That's a perfect coupling, isn't it?

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  33. Loved this, Ruthy! I've enjoyed mysteries since I learned to read (including most of those you mentioned) and they're among my go-to comfort reads when life is a little hectic. This series of blog posts has been so much fun to read. Thank you, and congratulations again on the publication of A Light in the Darkness!

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    1. Laura, thank you! And I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts, it was fun to learn all this stuff... and then even more fun to share it! And who would have thought of this turn a few years ago? Not me! But it's crazy enjoyable! (I almost said "DELIGHTFUL"!!!!

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  34. I've read some Nancy Drew, and even an Agatha Christie for school, but I'm more familiar with the Boxcar children, Nate the Great, Encyclopedia Brown... yup, I guess that groups me in with the younger generation.

    I'm just working on writing more and every day. Being sick and going on vacation have knocked me off track but I'm working on getting back on track.

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    1. Nicki, I'm so sorry you've been sick... But I hope the vacation was fun!

      I love that you are part of the younger generation, kiddo. Your opinions matter.

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  35. I'm chiming in late today, but still wanted to comment because what could be better than a Ruthy-post AND peach pie?! Perfect!! :) Loved this post, Ruthy, and I will admit that until recently I'd not read very many cozy mysteries. But now I've decided I LOVE them! And I had to smile seeing your Cherry Ames books - - what sweet memories that brought back. When I was still a child one of my older sisters was in nursing school, so she gave me several of those books and I loved them! CONGRATULATIONS on A Light in the Darkness - - as you already know, I am SO excited about this book (and the cute totebag!). Another awesome Ruthy book for my Keeper Shelf. :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  36. Read The Hardy Boys as a child. Read Hercule Poirot as an adult. And both my kids are excited about Murder on the Orient Express. They want to read the book up to just prior to the summation. Love a good mystery.

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    1. Walt, after seeing the previews, I'm really excited about the movie, too.

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  37. Hi Ruthy,
    Oh how I loved reading the Nancy Drew books and also the Hardy boy mysteries. This is one of the reasons I started to write a cozy mystery several years ago, but then I started a teaching post and laid that book aside.

    Your cozy mystery posts have made me want to complete it, so I'm going back to my cozy mystery to apply what I have learnt from you. Once again I'll be on track following my dream. Thank you.
    Please add my name to the draw for your book.

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  38. You are so right about cozy mysteries being the grown up versions of Trixie and Nancy. I read those books and re-read them and never grew tired of them. I am thrilled to learn about your new cozy mystery and I look forward to reading it soon. I don't have an answer for your question about making a dream come true but I am trying to meet my goal to do more reviews to support the authors who give me so much joy.
    Thanks Ruthy and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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