Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition

I’m excited to announce the release of Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition.
CSB2
Do you want to write a cozy mystery but don’t have a clue where to start? Or are you in the middle of a story and stuck on the plot? Perhaps you’re already writing a series, and you need tips on keeping your material fresh. Writing the Cozy Mystery will help you develop your characters, establish the setting, plot the story, add suspense, plant clues and solve the crime.
This Second Edition contains more examples; additional writing exercises; expanded sections; and seven new chapters including The Muddle in the Middle, Romance and Murder, Special Considerations for Cozy Writers, Keeping a Series Fresh, Writing the Smart Synopsis, Mystery Movies, and Marketing Tips. You’ll find everything you need to know in an easy-to-read, clear manner to write your own mystery and maintain a long-running series. Recommended for cozy writers, mystery fans, and creative writing classes. Just in time for your holiday gift bags!
“Too many writer’s guides focus on style and how to write; but Nancy J. Cohen’s Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition doesn’t limit itself to literary mechanics alone. This makes it a highly recommended pick for all levels of writers; from those who enjoy mysteries and need a clearer definition of ‘cozy’ and its applications; to writers already well aware of the genre, but who need tips on how to sustain suspense or sprinkle believable clues throughout a cozy production.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
If you are thinking about writing a cozy mystery, read this book first! Nancy lays out all the necessary steps in an interesting and informative way that is easy to follow. This book was an invaluable tool when I wrote my first cozy. Highly recommended.” Catherine Bruns, USA Today Bestselling Author
“Nancy J. Cohen offers clear examples, practical writing exercises, and friendly advice designed to help the beginning cozy author start—and finish!—a saleable book. Even seasoned cozy writers can find helpful hints for building better characters and story.” Diane A.S. Stuckart, aka Ali Brandon, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Tarot Cats Mysteries
“If you want to write a cozy mystery—or really, any kind of mystery—this is the book for you! Everything you need to know in one handy volume.” Victoria Thompson, Bestselling Author of the Gaslight Mystery Series
Digital Edition: ISBN 978-0-9985317-2-4, $3.99, Orange Grove Press
Print Edition: ISBN 978-0-9985317-3-1, $9.99, Orange Grove Press
Cover Design and Graphic Illustrations by
Boulevard Photografica
Print Pages: 130 pages. Word Count: 28,000 words
Nonfiction – Reference – Writing Guide

Order Your Copy Now: 

Apple Books
Amazon Print
Amazon Kindle
BN Nook
Kobo
Universal Link
Booksellers and Librarians: This title is available at Ingram.
Note: Amazon will not link the 190+ reviews from the first edition, so I need ALL NEW REVIEWS on the book’s Amazon page. Please take a few minutes to say how this book helped you if you find it a useful read.
CLICK TO TWEET
<><><>
GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card from Booklover’s Bench

Trimmed to Death – Midwest Book Review

I am excited to share this review of Trimmed to Death from Midwest Book Review:
Trimmed to Death
Trimmed to Death is the 15th book in the cozy mystery ‘The Bad Hair Day’ series that profiles hairstylist/sleuth Marla Vail. One would think that, with such a long-standing series of adventures behind her, any newcomer to Marla’s world would at least need some degree of prior familiarity with the series, but no such expertise is required in order to delve into the world of South Florida and Marla’s endeavors to succeed.
In this latest story, Marla has entered a local charity bake-off contest at a Fall festival, and stumbles upon the dead body of fellow contestant Francine while she awaits the results. This sets off a chain of events in which Marla uncovers a host of food-related possible perps who each would have had a stake in Francine’s demise.
As Marla plans her own benefit to support a local historical museum, the threat of repeat deaths looms over her promotion plans for her salon and the community.
One reason why Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning cozy mystery author is that her stories are packed with personality, upbeat scenarios, and the solid pairing of a murder mystery with broader community entanglements. In this story, Marla isn’t just a sole proprietor operating independent of her world; she’s thoroughly connected to the community through her salon and work.
Descriptions are thus nicely crafted and filled with atmosphere and detail that bring Marla’s world to life, sometimes with a touch of ironic observation, as when she and her companion venture into an eclectic restaurant during the course of their investigations and have to confront a decidedly sophisticated menu that challenges their taste buds:
“I don’t see anything here that I like. You didn’t tell me the menu was this eclectic.”
Marla took a look. Crawfish cocktail, conch fritters, gator bites, deviled crabs. Those didn’t appeal to her, either. “How about the guacamole?” she asked in a less than enthusiastic tone. It wouldn’t be her appetizer of choice.
“The dip comes with pita bread. And what’s this pawpaw martini?” Dalton asked.
“Some kind of fruit drink, maybe? We could always get a salad to start.”
“That seems like the best bet. I wouldn’t want the sunray salad. That’s got oranges and onions and cream cheese balls. Ugh.”
As for the investigation itself, it’s filled with the kind of realistic flavor that cements the idea that Marla and her fellow partners in non-crime are not professionals, but informed amateurs:
Marla drew a stool over to the counter, sat on the vinyl seat, and unwrapped her sandwich. After taking a few bites, she said, “We have some promising leads, but nobody stands out as the main suspect.”
“Who do you have so far? In the mystery novel I just finished, the guilty party was the business partner.”
From fundraiser activity, culinary insights, and probes into Marla’s logic to recipes and romance which pepper the story line and embellish its twists and turns, readers who want a cozy mystery filled with atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure should settle a chair by the fire for a good evening’s read.
Trimmed to Death is a delicious story to savor primarily because the focus on Marla and her community is so realistically and compellingly done that readers will relish the final results and the path that leads Marla and her detective hubby Dalton to move from the concerns of the Cut ’N Dye Salon and Day Spa to probing Francine’s life and the motives of who would want to murder her.”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
<><><>
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-5-5, $4.99, Sept. 25, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Print ISBN: 978-0-9985317-6-2, $14.99, Sept. 25, 2018, Orange Grove Press

Pre-Order Your Copy Now:
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2xXmY57
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Kb7oIK
iBooks: https://apple.co/2xWHSRP
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/trimmed-to-death
BN Nook: http://bit.ly/2sH9vcH
BN Print: http://bit.ly/2lEUhkB
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/AHwKfK-vTIY
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40504820-trimmed-to-death

Trimmed to Death – Book Trailer

Mix together a cocktail for murder, add a few salty suspects, toss in a dollop of sweet humor, and you have the recipe for Trimmed to Death, #15 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

 
 
Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life? Recipes Included!
Early Reviews 
“From fundraiser activity, culinary insights, and probes into Marla’s logic to recipes and romance which pepper the story line and embellish its twists and turns, readers who want a cozy mystery filled with atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure should settle a chair by the fire for a good evening’s read.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“What a great read! Marla and Dalton make a wonderful team… I like how it shows some realistic dimensions to Marla and Dalton’s professional lives. They both are concerned with doing a good job professionally, doing what’s right and having a life of their own. This book is believable, well-written and well-developed. The storyline is fast-paced and keeps readers guessing to the end.” Kathleen K. on Goodreads
“This is Book 15 in the Bad Hair Day Mystery Series. I have read each of these books and they just keep getting better and better…This book is wonderful and I highly recommend it.” Sandy B. on Goodreads
“In Trimmed to Death, Marla once again falls upon a murder; this time while enjoying herself at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. I enjoy following Marla and her escapades. The stories are always light-hearted and easy to read.” Jan K. on Goodreads
TRIMMED TO DEATH, Sept. 25, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-5-5
Print ISBN: 978-0-9985317-6-2

Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Pre-Order Your Copy Now:
Amazon Print
Amazon Kindle
iBooks
Kobo
BN Nook
BN Print

Add to Goodreads
 

Hair Brained Large Print Edition

The Large Print Edition of Hair Brained is now available!
Large Print
ISBN: 9781432852771, $26.99, August 8, 2018; Wheeler Publishing
Murder on the Beach Bestseller List
Finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards
Large print editions are great if you want to reduce eye strain. Order your own copy or ask your librarian to order the book for you. Reviews are always appreciated.
When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son and becomes embroiled in another murder mystery. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident. But who would want to kill Tally—or Ken in the car with her? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. But it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk.
“You are always thinking and on your toes while reading this book.  And when you get to the end and everything is revealed….it will blow your mind!” Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
“Spending time with Marla and Dalton is like visiting old friends and I think Hair Brained is one of Ms. Cohen‘s better entries in the series.” Buried Under Books
“The story actually has a couple of mysteries within its pages and all is worked out by the end, but there are a lot of plot twists along the way.” Carla Loves to Read
“From page one, you’ll hang on every word as the twists and turns of the mystery are revealed and Marla goes into overdrive to prove that the friends she trusted all this time were definitely worthy of that trust.” Amy Lignor, Suspense Magazine
Order a Copy Now or Buy a Copy for a Friend.
Gale/Cengage: http://bit.ly/2Gval13
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JzmTpZ
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2l3afV4
GIVEAWAY
Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card at Booklover’s Bench
 

Trimmed to Death – Cover Reveal

Trimmed to Death, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, will be released on Sept. 25, 2018 and is available for pre-order.

 

TRIMMED TO DEATH eBook

 

Hairstylist Marla Vail enters a bake-off competition that’s a real killer when a contestant ends up dead.

Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life?

Recipes Included!

Cover Design by the talented Patty G. Henderson at Boulevard Photografica.

TRIMMED TO DEATH, Sept. 25, 2018, Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-5-5
Print ISBN: 978-0-9985317-6-2

Add to Goodreads

ORDER HERE

Note: I have review copies available in ebook format. If you are a blogger or reviewer, please notify me via email that you’d like to be added to my reviewer list. Include a link to the site(s) where you post reviews.

CLICK TO TWEET

 

Trimmed to Death

Publisher: Orange Grove Press
Series: A Bad Hair Day Mystery, Book 15
Release Date: Sept. 25, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Available Formats: eBook and Paperback
Digital: ISBN: 9780998531755
Paperback: ISBN: 9780998531762

Hairstylist Marla Vail enters a bake-off competition that’s a real killer when a contestant ends up dead.

Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger?

Francine is wearing a jacket borrowed from another entrant, food blogger Alyce Greene. With their similar builds, hair colors, and pixie haircuts, the women could have been mistaken for each other from behind. Was it possible Alyce had been the intended target instead of Francine? When another entrant is killed, Marla fears the rest of the contestants might be next.

Marla’s friend, deli owner Arnie Hartman, knows the farm owner’s son. He begs Marla to investigate to help clear the smear on the farm’s reputation. She’s joined by her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail, in interviewing the bake-off contestants and judges. There’s no shortage of suspects. A celebrity TV chef, food critic, olive oil importer, food truck owner, pastry chef, and cookbook author may be stirring up more than their next recipe. Can Marla unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life?

Recipes Included!

Buy Now:

Amazon Print
B&N
iBooks
Kobo

Skip To:

Reviews | Excerpt | Excerpt

Reviews

 

Excerpt

 

Extras

 

Cover Reveal for Hairball Hijinks

Hairball Hijinks: A Bad Hair Day Cozy Mystery Short Story, is now available for pre-order.

Release Date: June 12, 2018 by Orange Grove Press

Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-4-8

Hairball

 

When hairstylist Marla Vail agrees to help find a neighbor’s missing cat, she doesn’t expect to get tangled in a series of home burglaries. She gets on the trail of the lost feline, surprised to find more than the pet missing from the elderly woman’s house. The lady’s valuables are gone, and according to the police, it isn’t the first incident in the neighborhood. Can Marla outwit the crooks before they cause another cat’astrophe?

Bonus One: An interview with Marla
Bonus Two: 5 new recipes!
Bonus Three: A sneak preview of Trimmed to Death

With thanks to Lois Crockett for suggesting the book title.

Spoiler Alert: This story comes after Hair Brained and contains spoilers, so you might want to read that one first.

Pre-Order Now

CLICK TO TWEET

 

Hairball Hijinks

Publisher: Orange Grove Press
Series: A Bad Hair Day Mystery, 14.5
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Available Formats: eBook
Digital: 9780998531748

Hairstylist Marla Vail agrees to help find a neighbor’s lost cat and discovers a ransacked house where more than the pet is missing.

Savvy hairstylist and super sleuth Marla Vail visits her friend Tally who just got out of the hospital after a serious car accident. Marla has been caring for Tally’s baby and is sad but grateful to return him to his mother. She and Tally reconcile their friendship that had become estranged before the crash. Happy to have her friend back, Marla is about to leave when a knock summons her to the door. It’s a distraught elderly neighbor who claims her cat is missing. Marla, unable to turn down a person in need, accompanies the lady home. But when Marla enters the house, she realizes much more is missing than a lost feline. The place has been ransacked, and when she calls the police, they inform her the neighborhood has been beset by a series of thefts. Can she find the crooks before they cause another cat’astrophe?

This story comes after Hair Brained, #14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
Bonus One: An interview with Marla
Bonus Two: 5 new recipes!
Bonus Three: A sneak preview of Trimmed to Death

Buy Now:

Amazon
B&N
iBooks
Kobo

Skip To:

Reviews | Excerpt | Excerpt

Reviews

“I’m always happy for a chance to visit with my old friend Marla Vail. This time it’s a short visit, but just as much fun as always. Hairball Hijinks picks up right where Hairbrained (#14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries) left off. It’s a fast-paced read with charming characters. It left me with a “feel good” type of feeling. It even includes a nice interview with Marla. It’s a very nice touch and gives the reader even more insight into the character. I loved this book. It has an adorable cat in it, what could be better?” Yvonne at Socrates’ Book Reviews

Excerpt

 

Extras

 

Body Wave Audiobook

Are you an #audiobook fan? I’m excited to announce the release of Body Wave Audiobook, #4 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries! Join my Book Launch Party on Thursday, May 17 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm EDT for Fun & Giveaways at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

BODY WAVE AUDIOBOOK

Narrated by Mary Ann Jacobs. Published May 11, 2018 by Orange Grove Press

Stylist Marla Shore goes undercover in a hair-brained scheme to catch a killer in her latest South Florida adventure. In a story braided with unexpected twists and curls, she takes on a role as nurse’s aide for wealthy Miriam Pearl. While Marla snoops into the elderly matriarch’s affairs, her boyfriend, Detective Dalton Vail, is afraid that the only affair she’ll snag is with her ex-spouse, Stan. Juggling work at her salon, crime solving, and two amorously inclined males, Marla fights a race against time to save Stan before the dashing detective nails him for murder.

Listen to a Sample: https://soundcloud.com/mysterygal/body-wave

Order Now

Audible

Amazon

iTunes

Excerpt from Body Wave

Marla tried to fathom the dynamics of their conversation. Florence seemed to be attacking Kimberly’s values while Stella was defending them. Why was the elderly aunt coming down so hard on the dead girl? Did it have anything to do with Florence having been in love with Kim’s father?

She wheeled Miriam away to a discrete distance, on a slight rise where the driveway curved toward a tree-lined avenue leading to the obscured entrance beyond the woods. It was far enough that she wouldn’t appear to be eavesdropping yet could still hear their faint voices.

“Morons,” Miriam muttered. “The poor thing is gone. Why won’t they let her rest in peace?”

Marla didn’t respond, too intent on listening. Her hands placed lightly on the wheelchair handlebars, she inclined her head.

“I don’t know how I’m going to get those albums if Stanley won’t cooperate,” Stella said, wringing her hands. “I should have gone myself. Maybe he’d have listened to me.”

“You tried at the funeral, and he ignored you,” her sister sneered. “Can you blame him, when you came right out and accused him of murdering his wife?”

“He knew what Kim was planning. You, of all people, should understand how it would cause him to react the way he did.”

“By killing her?” Florence said in an incredulous tone.

“Who else could have done it? You?”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“You always resented my daughter. I know how jealous you were that she wasn’t your child.”

“Stop screaming. I hate it when you get hysterical.”

“Did you do it?”

“Hell, no.” Florence shook her elegant head. “If you want to know, Kimberly was messing in things she didn’t understand. She should have minded her own business.” Leaning forward, she spoke in such a low tone that Marla couldn’t catch what she was saying.

Damn, she needed to be closer. Frustrated, Marla took a few steps forward. Suddenly, she heard a shriek. Whipping around, she let a cry erupt from her lips at the sight that greeted her.

Miriam’s wheelchair coasted down the hill at an increasingly perilous speed.

<><><>

“Ms. Cohen’s plot has more twists than a French braid, and Marla is a shear delight.” Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries

“In Nancy J. Cohen’s fourth bubbly Bad Hair Day mystery, Florida hairdresser Marla Shore agrees to help her snake of an ex‑husband, Stan Kaufman, who’s been arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kimberly, find the real killer.” Publishers Weekly

“In Body Wave, Marla faces more shades of guilt and malice than she has colors of nail polish in her salon ‑‑ and exposes herself to a hidden killer who may decide that eliminating Marla is a permanent solution for getting away with murder.” Barnes & Noble Ransom Notes

“You will find it all within the pages of Body Wave: a touch of romance, laugh out loud moments, hilarious characters, and a puzzling mystery.” Romance Readers Connection

<><><>

This title is also available in ebook and trade paperback formats. Body Wave was originally published by Kensington. This audiobook and related versions are the revised Author’s Edition. For more details, visit https://nancyjcohen.com/body-wave/

CLICK TO TWEET

Audiobook Party

Giveaway

Enter Here for Booklover’s Bench monthly contest to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card.

 

Liquid Latex

Research Insights – Liquid Latex
Research for a novel can lead to all sorts of esoteric topics. For Facials Can Be Fatal, I came across the term liquid latex. I’d heard of latex gloves, and that people could be allergic to latex. My hairdresser sleuth would have to be careful what type of gloves she used when applying hair color to a sensitive client. She could avoid risk by using gloves that do not contain this element. Next time you buy a pair of gloves for washing dishes or doing housework, check the label and see if they are latex-free.
So what is liquid latex? Latex is a substance derived from rubber trees as a milky liquid. The commercial substance called liquid latex contains about one-third latex, two-thirds water, and tiny amounts of ammonia for preservation. You can also buy it ammonia-free. This would be desirable when applying the substance to your face.
LiquidLatex
Liquid latex is commonly used for body paint and special effects makeup, such as scars, wrinkles, and wounds. It can be applied with a disposable sponge and takes up to ten minutes to dry. As it dries, the liquid latex hardens to a rubbery consistency and shrinks about three percent. Manufacturers add pigments to provide color choices. Or you can dust shimmer powder over the dried latex to create a metallic effect. Since it also has a sticky quality, liquid latex can be used as an adhesive for bald caps and other prosthetics. Fortunately, this substance is easily removed by peeling it off, but it can remove your fine hairs at the same time. Ouch.
makeup
Looking to enhance your Halloween costume? You can buy liquid latex online or at your local party store in varying sized containers and a choice of colors. Try building up an area on your skin using alternating layers of latex and tissue paper and color it to make fake injuries. Learn how to apply it by watching a YouTube video. Next time you see a blockbuster movie, note if the special effects makeup might have been done with liquid latex.
monsters
So how did I use this information in Facials Can Be Fatal? Let’s just say that some people can be highly allergic to the stuff. In other words, latex can be lethal.
<><><>
FacialsCanBeFatalFront2
Facials Can Be Fatal by Nancy J. Cohen
A Bad Hair Day Mystery
Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner
Finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards

During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.
View the Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/6OTw5232Eeg
Get a Copy Now:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Giveaway
Enter Oct. 1 -18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Newsletter
Sign up now for my latest book news, giveaways, exclusive bonus content, and events. Free book sampler for new subscribers.
 
Save