Two Reviews and an Update

I love positive reviews. Writers thrive on those. When a new book releases, we hold our breath until someone sends through a message or posts a review. Will they like it OR Will it flop?

Thank you, Joyce and Diana!

An update on my writing journey: I recently completed a cozy mystery novella to be released as part of a series of novellas, beginning in early 2023. There are seven stories in the series. One of them will be released every month from February until August. This is my first cozy mystery. I enjoyed creating the characters and developing the story.

Watch my newsletter and/or social media posts for more information and updates on this exciting series.

I am writing furiously to complete book 2 of the Home Found Suspense series. I can’t wait to share more with you about this project.

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Until next time–

The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

Psalm 145:18 ESV

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.

Once Upon a Time…

…four little words that deliver instant peace. Am I alone in this? Perhaps for me, they spur a pleasant, long-ago memory of being read to before sleeping.

As you can see in this photo, I’ve been reading for a long time.

This simple phrase opens a gateway into my imagination. Sleeping Beauty lies just beyond the gate, or Cinderella, Rapunzel, or Belle in Beauty and the Beast. As a child, I could easily imagine myself in one of those roles.

Once upon a time, I started a little story, having no idea where it would go. But writing it was fun and by the time I had mapped it out, the ending surprised me. I suppose that may be the reason I love to write. So, here is how it began:


Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a tiny house on a large hill. Her name was Adelaide Thornton, and every weekday morning at exactly seven-ten, she said goodbye to her mother and began the long walk down the large hill. She stopped at the mailbox, where she waited until exactly seven-twenty-five, when her school bus arrived.

She greeted Mr. Augustus, who always answered, “Mornin’ Addy,” and then she made her way to the fifth row and sat in the seat on the left. This particular seat was always empty as if someone was saving it for Adelaide.

Though the bus was already filled with youngsters, no one else spoke to Adelaide, or even acknowledged her. And she was okay with that.

She scooched over, sitting close to the window, which left plenty of room for someone else to sit, but there was never anyone there. At least, no one that anyone else could see, other than Adelaide.

On this early spring morning, the bus made an unexpected stop before continuing on its way. Adelaide watched the front as a new kid climbed the steps. He seemed to be about her age, but he was taller. He had scruffy red hair and lots of freckles.

His eyes searched the bus and then, to her chagrin, stopped on the empty seat beside Adelaide. The only empty seat on the crowded bus.

As he made his way down the aisle, Adelaide noticed that no one was talking. The kids on the bus had gone completely quiet, as though they waited to see what would happen when the new boy tried to sit next to “Crazy Addy.”

The boy stopped at the fourth row and stood looking at Adelaide. “Is it all right if I sit with you?”

She heard a whooshing sound, as though everyone on the bus gasped at the same moment. And then she heard a whisper, “He’s very polite. I like him. Let him sit with us.”

All she could do was nod.                                                                              

The boy smiled and sat down.

Adelaide scrunched over, even closer to the window, so there would be room for everyone.

The other children on the bus began to titter and chat, but Adelaide knew they were watching…and waiting…and wondering. She also noticed Mr. Augustus’ eyes on her in the rearview mirror. He gave her a smile and a nod before setting off.

As the bus rolled forward, Adelaide heard, “He’s new in town. You should tell him your name and ask his name.”

She frowned at the empty spot in the middle of the seat, where someone sat. Someone no one else could see, except for Adelaide. But what he had said made sense to her. After all, the boy did seem very polite and had asked her permission to sit.

She cleared her throat.

Again, the other children hushed.

Adelaide ignored them and focused on the new kid. “I’m Adelaide Thornton. What’s your name?”

The new kid looked at her. “Nice to meet you, Adelaide. I’m Matthew Sommers, but everyone calls me Rusty.” He ruffled his dark, red hair and grinned.

Adelaide smiled back at him. Rusty was not only polite, but he was kind of funny, too. No wonder her brother liked him.

Oh yes, her brother. Adelaide was a twin. Though her brother had only lived two days on this earth, he had never left her. Some folks thought she was nuts and that’s why they called her, “Crazy Addy.” Others, mostly older folks, smiled and said she had an invisible friend. Only Adelaide knew the truth. He might be invisible, but he was not just a friend. He was her twin brother, Paul.


To be continued… Click here for PART2

Energize Me!

How has it been a month already since I last posted on here? Where did the time go? Well, I’ve been typing away, working to finish that first book in a new series. It’s a different genre for me, so it brought along a learning curve. I ran into a few snags along the way. Toss in a pandemic, and a couple of serious medical dramas in the family…but I won’t bore you with those details. We have all had some life changes this year.

So, I’m really late in doing this: updating my calendar.

For some, replacing the old year’s calendar with the new one is enough to awaken their senses and renew their hope.

For me, it takes a little more planning and lots of coffee.

First, coffee, then planning…

Nothing inspires me like reading from the Bible everyday. I read, meditate, and pray. That’s my foundation. From that point on, the rest of the day seems to fall into place. Most of the time.

Setting goals is hard for me. I’m not really a planner and my writing style is “seat-of-the-pants” — I don’t always know where the story will lead, but I love to follow the trail.

Rabbit trails are my specialty.

However, a little structure helps guide me through my days. So, I usually jot down a list of things I hope to accomplish monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes hourly. Drawing a line through an accomplished task is one of my favorite things!

I’m still working part-time, doing the bookkeeping for a small business. So, I’m always learning in order to keep up with the latest upgrades to the program they use. Not to mention the “t” word (taxes).

And then, I’m a writer. Like many other pursuits in life, writing requires constant work and study just to keep up with the basics.

For that, I receive newsletters and blog posts from some of the best teachers. I attend a local writers group monthly and try to attend one or two conferences each year. These are valuable for continuing education and connecting with other writers.

Other writers.

Yes, they are out there. This can also be challenging. I’ve learned that they are not as rare as they once were. Interaction with them takes skill and training. They speak a different language–it’s called book-speak. It includes acronyms like POV and SOTP. You have to learn the language to survive among them. If you join a group, it may be called a crit group. They express opinions about your writing and include things like IMHO and MOO.

You’re laughing, but it’s true.

Once again, I’ve headed down a rabbit trail. There are some important points I need to make here. In the coming weeks, I’ll wrench myself free of that deadline rabbit hole and get back into the habit of communicating with my readers. I know I’ve been threatening to do that, but I really mean it this time. 🙂

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my silly post. I hope this year is treating you well so far. There is hope out there. For some, it may be a tiny thread. For others, a full blown sunrise, flooding the horizon with gorgeous colors. For me, that’s the most energizing of sights, if I can drag myself out of my warm bed in time to observe it, fully armed with a cup of hot coffee and a fresh prayer for all of you. Joy comes in the morning! May your days be blessed. May God arise with healing in His wings for all of us.