The Wordplay Mysteries

By Julie B Cosgrove

Julie B. Cosgrove

I have always loved word puzzles and word games. Scrabble is more often set up on my dining room table than placemats and napkins.  I play Words with Friends and Wordle daily. Even as a preteen, I would grab the newspaper section from my Dad so I could be the first to solve the Jumble, then try and find as many words as I could made out of the letters in the posted word of the day.

Back then I was a suspense and mystery buff, too. Still am. I binge out on British mysteries like Death in Paradise, Shakespeare & Hathaway, Father Brown, Vera … just to name a few (they do them so very well), and watch reruns of Diagnosis Murder, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Psych, Quincy, etc. Since middle school―let’s not discuss how long ago that was―I’ve love reading cozy mysteries, my genre of choice.

So, is it any surprise my wise, older sister asked why I didn’t combine the two and write a cozy mystery series about Wordplay? Gauntlet thrown, how could I say no? Blessings abound, my publisher agreed. Thanks, sis.

I designed Scrub Oak, Texas, complete with the shops and shopkeepers, the police, the churches, and the town folk. It is a great place to visit, so I hope you will. I can honestly say this has been the most fun I have experienced in my writing career journey yet! 

Here are brief synopses of the first three Word Play Mysteries…

Word Has It  –  Not prone to gossip, Wanda  keeps herself to herself. But when she hears from her nephew Todd, now a local policeman, that a ring of thieves may be hiding out in the area, she begins to wonder if the old Ferguson place is still abandoned. When words like jewels, woodshed, landing, and evil appear on their weekly word game days after a deadly shooting on the property, she determines it is a sign she and her friends should investigate.

Word Gets Around – Each of the three ladies receive a nonsensical note slipped between the wiper blades of their cars. When the ladies combine the words on a word game board, it spells trouble for one of Betty’s former students, who is now a freelance reporter for the Oakmont County Gazette. Could it be she reported way too much?

In Other Words – Many English words contain the same letters but in different order, like stressed and desserts. After the local store owner is found dead in the alley, the ladies will need their word playing skills to unravel the dual meanings of the graffiti that appears around town before two more people’s games end.

On August 26th, number four releases.

Hang On Every Word – Wanda lands a gig as the word puzzle designer for the local newspaper. Then the answers to her clues end up as crimes. Some merchants wonder if she is feeding the crooks so she can get credit for solving more mysteries.  Will her nephew Todd be pressured into arresting his own aunt?

And this is the exciting part – everyone who preorders the book on Amazon by July 1st will get a FREE chapter every Friday emailed to them until it releases. They get a sneak peek before anyone else!  Plus, they are put in a drawing to receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate, too.

Details can be found on my website, juliebcosgrove.com .

Here is a sample of what you’ll read…

“No fingerprints were left behind, so he or she wore gloves. He or she knew the tills would be full. These robberies appear to be planned out, as most are. Not spontaneous as if the word puzzles you designed in the newspaper helped them decide who to hit.”

“How long does it take to grab gloves?” She waggled a finger at her nephew. “Pardon me for saying so, but these three all seem like hit and runs, no pun intended. My guess is the burglar lives elsewhere.”

“I hope you’re right. Vicki is an old friend. And Mason seems like a great guy.” He leaned in and brushed her cheek with his lips. “And I’m rather fond of my aunt as well. I don’t want to see any of you handcuffed.” Todd rose, put on his police Stetson, and left her kitchen.

Wanda stared as he closed the door behind him. Did he seriously think she might be involved? Surely not.

Images zipped across her imagination― red flashing lights, squawking highway patrol radios, and herself in handcuffs slammed face down against the hood of her car.

Oh, get a grip.


About Julie B Cosgrove

Freelance writer, award-winning traditionally published author and speaker Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications.

Julie has won “One of the 50 Writers You should be Reading” in 2015 & 2016 by the nationally syndicated radio The Author Show and is a Grace Award finalist, INSPY semifinalist, and winner of the Best Religious Fiction 2016 winner and Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors.

But her passion is story-telling and she loves to read mysteries and suspense as well as write them. She currently has three mystery series: The Bunco Biddies Mysteries, The Relatively Seeking Mysteries, and the Wordplay Mysteries.


Hi, Betty Thomason Owens here. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of Wordplay Mysteries–Word Has It and Word Gets Around. In Other Words is on my TBR list and I have already preordered Hang On Every Word.

I’m a fan of Julie B Cosgrove. 🙂

I had not previously read many cozy mysteries, but her first book hooked me. The characters are delightful, warm, and charming. Small town candor and innocence abounds. If you’re a mystery reader, I encourage you to give Julie’s books a read. Just good, clean fun!

Do Not Disturb the Writer

I suppose the holiday week combined with the end of the school year sent everyone into a frenzy. My phone has been busy, busy!

I finally sit down at my laptop, close my eyes, and enter my story world. My phone light flashes and the thing buzzes and jumps around on the desk (silent mode for the hearing impaired).

I love to hear from family and friends. Honestly, I don’t hear from them often. That’s my fault. I’m not a great communicator. I plan to call or text. I have conversations in my mind, planning what I will say. And then I never actually call or even send a message. It’s genetic. Mom is the same way.

So, I have to set my phone on DND. Do Not Disturb. It doesn’t ring, flash, or vibrate.

This worked great until the noise started outside. What was that?

Kids at play! The neighbors had one of those huge blowup slides with water streaming down. Children lined up, waiting for their turn. The kids screamed and laughed. Their dogs barked. It was great fun.

Out came the noise-cancelling headphones.

I don’t usually play music while I write. It’s distracting. I end up singing. But, I can turn the television on with the sound low. I usually find a movie I’ve seen several times. The background chatter helps me into “the zone.”

We do what we must to get the job done.

I am working hard to complete the second book in the Home Found Suspense series. I’m really enjoying the story, taking the characters farther but closer. Lisa, my main character, has to go into protective custody for a while. She’s farther from her closest friends. Meanwhile, Jake disappears. Will she ever see him again?

Thanks, all of you who have read (or are reading) Still Water. Your encouragement and urging keeps me writing. Finish that book! I need the next installment!

Good news! I took part in a cozy mystery anthology called The Visitor. There will be 7 stories, releasing individually in early 2023. Mine is #6, and is slated to release in July, 2023. I can’t give you any details other than those, but stay tuned–we’ll be dropping clues along the way.

I have only read a few cozies. What I like about them is their typically nonviolent nature (any violence happens offstage). Their humor and likable characters. Small town, girl-next-door sleuths. Romance or not. Think Jessica Fletcher.

Watch this space! Mid-June, I’m featuring a fellow Pursued Books (Write Integrity Press) author, Julie Cosgrove. I love her cozy mysteries, especially the Wordplay Mysteries. I think you’ll like her as well.

Until next time. May God bless your journey.

A Giant Murder

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert? His wife? His son, Jack? What about Harper Davis? Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to clear her name and find out who really killed “the giant”.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet! — A Giant Murder, Ever After Mysteries, Book 2


There’s nothing like a cozy mystery to spice up those long, summer days. This one is especially fun, with elements of a favorite fairy tale skillfully woven into the storyline. Set in the 1920s, there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. I had to admire the heroine, Josephine “Josie” Jacobs. She is a hard-working girl. Accomplished, yet humble. She works as a waitress and helps her mother run a boarding house for ladies.

When someone ends up dead, Josie’s on the hot seat, since she was the last person to talk to him. At least that’s how it looks. And that’s not good when you’re dating a beloved neighborhood policeman.

I did not want to put this one down, which is always a good thing when it comes to mysteries.


Marji Laine

What advice do I wish someone had given me? I actually got some great advice when I was starting out. I was told, “Learn the craft of writing.” It was explained to me this way: It’s easy to see something and think, “Oh, I can do that.” But being an author is like being a musician or an accountant. You can’t expect to be an expert if you’ve never studied, gained long-term experience and exposure, and allowed your work to be intensely evaluated. It would be like saying, “I like to ski. I think I’ll enter the Winter Olympics next February.” 

What am I’m proudest of? I can’t really answer that question, but I can tell you what I’m most pleased about.

  • My family comes to mind first. My kids are focused on the Lord and have good heads on their shoulders. Life isn’t always sunshine and lollipops, but we have really bonded anew this last couple of years. I’m so pleased about that! 
  • I’m pleased that one of my books is an award-winner, and that my readers think enough of me to have voted for it. 
  • I’m also pleased to be in a position to help other writers realize their dreams of publishing. God has been teaching me a lot, and now gives me opportunities to pass it along. I’m pleased to be able to do so.

What excites me? I get excited by a NASCAR race and someone picking up the Walmart order for me. It doesn’t take much! LOL! But my hubby gave me a piece of advice when we first started chatting about me switching careers. He reminded me that my expectation might not be what God was actually doing with this new endeavor. For that reason, he encouraged me to write for the joy of writing. And I do. In fact, working for days on a book is like taking a vacation! It is truly, still, one of my favorite things to do, and the prospect of empty days, offline and filled with storying, makes me so excited!

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. 

For more about Marji and her books, visit her blog, MarjiLaine.com

History Mystery Fun

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, and happy Thursday morning!

Did I catch your attention with the title of this post?

I love a good mystery, don’t you? And, as a writer of historical novels, I’m a fan of historical stories, novels, and movies.

So, can you believe I am just now watching Miss Marple? I’ve read the Agatha Christie novels (some of them, anyway), but I’ve never taken the time to watch the series. Until recently. What fun!

I’d just finished watching the latest season of Victoria (PBS), and I was in the mood for more British fare. I enjoyed a bit of history in Victoria, though it may have stretched a few facts a little thin. I love the attention to detail, costumes, locations, and settings.

I found Miss Marple quirky and bright, rather than dark and foreboding—definitely my preference. Cozy mystery, a laugh or two, and lots of beautiful English gardens.  A feast for the eyes.

Back in Kentucky, we’re recovering from a flood. The unseasonably warm weather took a plunge and snowflakes are falling. Just a dusting here and there, enough to remind us it’s still winter.

I’ve finished writing a novel, turned it in to my publisher, and now I’m waiting for the inevitable round of edits. It’s a lot of hard work to turn an idea into a story. A little like mixing ingredients in a bowl. Sometimes, in its raw state, that recipe doesn’t look so palatable. But the finished product is delectable in every way. I hope this one turns out well.

Next up on my plate is the third book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. I’ve just started on it, and already, I’m feeling the warm and welcoming presence of my characters. Annabelle is more comfortable in her lonely state of being. Though she misses what used to be, and mourns what could have been, she loves her new family.

But something is “messing with” her peace—someone, actually—a very handsome someone who refuses to give up on her. But she’s not sure she deserves happiness with another. What if he dies, too? How would she survive that?

I know I’ve rambled a bit this morning. Sometimes, conversations do that. I tried, but couldn’t seem to find a good segue back to cozy mysteries. And then I found it. A perfectly-timed quote from the queen of cozies herself—

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.—Agatha Christie

It goes perfectly with my character Annabelle’s situation in life, don’t you think?

Are you a fan of cozy mysteries? Who is your favorite author of cozies? I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know. As always, thanks so much for stopping by.

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