I used to have a hard time defining the genre of my novels. Apparently, describing the main character “like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum all grown up,” left a lot of people forever in the dark. But saying I write Cozy Mysteries leaves them just as clueless.

Although not yet recognized as a top-selling category, Cozies are gathering steam. They are generally quick reads, fun and entertaining, providing an enjoyable distraction for the reader, who is most often female.

The Cozy usually contains the following elements:

The characters are likeable, down-to-earth people, often neighbors and/or good friends. The hero is usually an amateur sleuth who is female and educated. Her friends are quirky and unique and provide a platform for comic relief. The plot is fast-paced, with lots of clues to sort out, and has a variety of odd twists and turns. The conclusion assures that the villain gets his (or hers).

A Cozy is a gentle read that does not contain graphic violence, gory details, profanity, or sex. Those kinds of things may be implied, but they always take place “off stage.” A Cozy is rarely a stand-alone book, but easily lends itself to a series. The readers become attached to the characters and want to know what happens next.

My own Cozy Mystery series takes place on the Long Beach Peninsula. Only it’s called the North Beach Peninsula in the series. The actual place names and business have all been changed, but a savvy reader in this area will undoubtedly be able to figure out where the characters are, and what the towns and businesses are really named.

Book One of the Sylvia Avery Mystery Series is out looking for an agent and/or publisher. Book Two is about to be started, but it will be well worth my time to go back and re-read the manuscript, familiarizing myself once again with my characters.

I am looking forward to falling in love with them all over again!