Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: cozy mystery


Seekerville: The Journey Continues




Ruthy here!

I am so excited to see this wonderful series hit the shelves of!

"Love's a Mystery" is a great new concept for Guideposts, a wonderful coupling of TWO novellas in one book... a historical romantic mystery and a contemporary romantic mystery, written by two separate authors.


Gabrielle Meyer did the historical on this one... I did the contemporary, and it was wonderful to spend a couple of days in Sleepy Hollow (formerly North Tarrytown, renamed after a huge manufacturing shutdown by General Motors left the town reeling and virtually unemployed).

But the town hit the Reset button, changed its name to reflect Washington Irving's amazingly successful story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and now the town is a tourist mecca of history, great sites, wonderful foods, bakeries, kitchens, great churches, and black-and-orange street signs. :) 

And now the book is out... A wonderful romance that sizzles in the midst of an autumn mystery and no one in Sleepy Hollow has time to mess around in October! :) 

From Guideposts, Inc.: 

When a strange man claiming to be the brother of Ichabod Crane accuses Brom Van Brundt of murdering Ichabod, his daughter Hannie begins a desperate search for the truth. Was the local folklore true? Was Brom the headless horsemen who scared Ichabod out of Sleepy Hollow? Or did something more sinister happen? The handsome new schoolmaster, Gideon, offers to help Hannie, but how long can they hide their growing feelings for one another?

Then turn the page and travel 200 years to the present where Tess has returned to Sleepy Hollow to help run her Gran’s soup shop. But all is not well. Gran has been scammed out of thousands of dollars by a bogus animal charity. She hires Riley O’Toole, Tess’s high school crush, to help. As Riley and Tess investigate, sparks soon fly. Is Gran secretly playing matchmaker?




THEN...  in two months I am blessed to have a second novella in this series:

"Love's a Mystery in Cut and Shoot, Texas", a pair of Christmas stories set in an iconic Texas town named... you guessed it... Cut and Shoot!

Throughout all the crazies and over-reactions of the past two years, the Guideposts team has stayed at the top of their game with all of their work on inspirational writings, devotionals, self-help books and a deep-dive into more fiction and rebranded fiction. This new series goes along with the republishing of the Summerside Press books that hit the charts years ago, an original Love Finds You series including my "Love Finds You in the City at Christmas", an award winning novella "Red Kettle Christmas" which will be loved, loved, loved by fans of "Call the Midwife".


So they're republishing my historical "Red Kettle Christmas" in "Love Finds You in the City at Christmas", a wonderful step back into 1947 Manhattan and these two new novellas.

Yes, it's been a busy year!

Yes, I'm so blessed to be part of this.

And yes, I'm looking forward to more mysteries with Guideposts! 

So celebrate with me today... Leave a comment and one person will win a copy of "Love's a Mystery in Sleepy Hollow, NY"! 


Award-winning, bestselling inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing great stories, running a farm, being a nice person most of the time and taking care of really cute grandkids as needed! Author of over 70 novels and novellas, Ruthy loves giving voice to ordinary people with extraordinary results as they become the unforgettable characters readers love. Visit Ruthy's website email Ruthy at and friend her on Facebook where she shares love, life and her amazing faith in God. 

CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: Mystery vs. Romantic Suspense vs. Thriller

 This is a great topic for authors and readers.

CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: Mystery vs. Romantic Suspense vs. Thriller

This is like saying "What's the difference between a romance and a mainstream novel with romantic elements?"

The answer is: No one knows for the second one. Oh, there are scads of opinions!!! But it's up to the individual editor. My wonderful editor at Amazon's Waterfall Publishing (They bought the initial Wishing Bridge books before the line closed. NOT MY FAULT!!!! Although it was the THIRD time it happened, but still... I maintain my innocence!)  :) Anyway, she listed Wishing Bridge as "women's fiction" and "contemporary romance" because it was focused on the woman's story... but it also had a romance.

Anyway, another editor looked at one of the Wishing Bridge stories and said no way was this women's fiction, and it was boring and no way did she even care about what happened to this woman. So the lines are not clearly drawn, right? And that's okay. (By the way, the book is anything but boring.) :) 

It's different for the mystery/suspense/thriller categories. More obvious.

A cozy mystery (think Agatha Christie, Guideposts) may have murder and mayhem, but it minimizes the element of fear. The protagonists aren't in constant danger, although they may be targeted to throw them off or scare them away. It can be funny, poignant and generally is "G" or "PG" rated.  My newest one "Merciful Secrecy" is set in Charleston, SC.... a city of old bleeding into new... and a hospital filled with hard-working people, some of whom have BIG EGOS. :) 

CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: Mystery vs. Romantic Suspense vs. Thriller

"When a lovely young E.R. nurse is being stalked, Anne, Shirley, Joy and Evelyn combine forces to figure out who's doing what... and why. But someone doesn't want them interfering. Someone has a lot more at stake than they bargained for... but the ladies aren't about to back down until they're sure that Katie can go back to her life as a hospital nurse without looking over her very pretty shoulder. Unless it's to glimpse the to-die-for head of security that thinks keeping Katie safe ranks pretty high on his list."

Now, Romantic Suspense is different.

That heroine can be kick-butt (Becket in "Castle") but she will be in danger... she will have some sort of awesome hero at her side, often reluctantly on both parts, but his job is to keep her safe EVEN if he thinks she's guilty. Heroine may be a suspect in a major crime/felony or she can be a target who's being hidden because she may know too much... Stakes are raised with babies or children being involved and/or threatened. Cabins in woods are a popular setting... but NYC basements (or any big city) paint a scary picture all on their own. Romantic suspense novels are a great read, and extremely popular right now. I love romantic suspense, but I can't write them and still sleep at night. My mind can't "unsee" things and it's not worth the nightmares.... Ditto for thrillers. :) I've learned to stay in my mental health comfort zone. 

Thrillers are in a class of their own. They are not horror stories.... 

Think Jason Bourne. Jack Reacher. John Grisham stories. 

The idea behind a thriller is often a conspiracy. Conspiracies allow the writer to make the heroes and heroines multi-targeted so you never know where the next shot/poison/car accident or plane crash is coming from. Execution-style killings are common. Violence is bedrock most of the time, but that would be different with psychological thrillers.... that's different, and we're sticking with standard "kill everyone attached to hero to see if he falls apart" type. 

Yes, I'm grinning, but it is mostly true and you know it!!!! 

There is a spectrum within each genre... Some cozies have murders and targeting. Some thrillers are psychological, not targeted at hero/heroine. Some romantic suspense play out over a series of books, not one. But whatever you write, aim it at one genre and then play the aspects of how you envision the finished product. That will help you (and the reader) be satisfied with the completed work.

And I have a copy of Merciful Secrecy to send out to one commenter today....

Leave a comment below, my friends! I'll enter your name into the freshly cleaned cat dish!

CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: Mystery vs. Romantic Suspense vs. Thriller

Multi-published bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate, coffee and Diet Mt Dew and she loves writing stories. Friend her on Facebook, email Ruthy at and stop by her website She'd love to hear from you! 

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery


Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery

Happy Friday! So, if you read the Weekend Edition from Saturday, you'll know I intended to write something about reviews for both authors & reviewers. However, it’s been an emotionally heavy week – several people I love going through tough stuff - and I just needed to talk about something a little lighter.

So let’s talk about cozy mysteries! While I didn’t start reading cozy mysteries until 2015, I basically grew up on them in television form - thank you, Jessica Fletcher. And one of the things I (and countless thousands of readers) love about cozy mysteries is that they follow a certain formula. After the upheaval of the past year, a little predictability is like comfort food. We want to know that justice is served, that the good guys win, that friendships matter, and that there’s something we can count on to remain pretty much unchanged. (Obviously God is unchanged. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But I’m talking outside the spiritual realm for the moment) 

Agatha Christie set the standard for cozies, when the first of her Miss Marple books released in the 1930s, and while cozies have definitely adapted to the modern age, much of what makes them so beloved has stood the test of time. Cozy mysteries (even most general market ones) are great for Christian fiction readers because a true cozy is free of explicit language/scenes. There are of course some authors who choose to write a grittier cozy, but the majority stay true to the genre and abstain from anything above a PG rating. I’m really happy to see cozy mysteries beginning to be written by Christian fiction authors too (again, even with a general market publisher) – more on that later.

Before I share some of my fave cozy mystery authors and some new/upcoming cozies to look forward to, I thought I'd have a little tongue-in-cheek fun with that predictability I mentioned earlier. If you've never read a cozy mystery, but you have watched at least one episode of Murder She Wrote, you'll still be able to follow along easily. 

So without further ado (adieu?)... 


Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery
1. You live in a quaint small town with its share of quirky characters and an inordinately high homicide rate.

*Usually coastal, in the south, or in the mountains. There are also a lot of festivals.

2. Homicide rate notwithstanding, there’s always someone new moving into town & starting a new business.

*This is usually the person who will either die next or be accused of the next murder so maybe don’t get too close to them just yet.

3. If person A (probably someone in your close circle) threatens person B (newcomer), person B has less than 24 hours to live.

*Now is the time to find person A a good attorney… except there really aren’t any because this is a cozy mystery, not a suspense.

4. You like to ‘help’ the local law enforcement solve these murders. 

*After all, in a very meta twist, you read cozy mysteries in your free time and you always know whodunit before anyone else.

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery
5. Local law enforcement lets you do this & even asks you for advice on occasion, however begrudgingly. Oh they tell you to stay out of it, to let them do their jobs, but they don’t really mean it. You know this because they thank you once you’ve handed over the culprit.

*One of them may even start dating you. Or your best friend.

6. You, your family, your friends, maybe even your pet, will all have your turn as the number one suspect in a murder investigation.

*You also usually find the body. Which doesn’t really help your defense.

7. The library or business or money-making hobby you own may only have 2 employees (including you) but it’s no problem at all for you to close up shop or leave your lone employee in charge indefinitely, at a moment’s notice, so you can chase down a lead.

*Don’t worry, your business still thrives, and all your regular customers understand & are happy to pitch in if needed. No charge.

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery
8. Your most faithful companion is your pet who is full of personality & may even save the day – and your bacon – when necessary. At the least, your pet is your brainstorming partner and helps you process all the clues.

*Usually a dog or a cat … but it could be a snake or a parakeet or an iguana. A pet rock is probably pushing it though.

9. You have at least one endearingly eccentric older relative who doubles as a fount of wisdom.

*Bonus if he/she has hilarious friends.

10. Someone in your inner circle is a baker or pastry chef or gourmet chef so you’re always eating yummy food.

*Recipes included at the back.

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery
I have several favorite cozy mystery series, encompassing a range of authors and publishers. If I started naming my faves, we would be here a while and I would inevitably leave one or more out. However, you can peruse my cozy mystery archives on ReadingIsMySuperPower to get an idea of which ones I recommend.

I'm super excited to see more Christian authors branching out into the cozy mystery genre. This is not to say that their books are overtly Christian (though some are) but it makes me so happy to see Jesus followers writing great books in this genre too. Some older series by Christian authors include Vannetta Chapman's Amish Village Mysteries, A.H. Gabhart's Hidden Springs Mysteries, and Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering Mysteries (that last one is more of a British cozy / Agatha Christie-esque & therefore slightly different from the formula we've been talking about).

Some new books coming out that I'm excited about are Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink (Poisoned Pen Press), On Skein of Death by Allie Pleiter (Berkley), and Dogged by Death by Laura Scott (Crooked Lane Books), and Trouble Brewing by Heather Day Gilbert (Woodhaven Press). The first three I mentioned start new series, too! Ahem - I've used their covers throughout the post to pique your interest (full disclosure) :)

There are also two cozies of particular interest on Seekerville that recently released: 

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery

The Deeds of the Deceitful
(Hope Street Mysteries #6)
by Ellery Adams & Tina Radcliffe
Beyond the Page / November 2020

Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery

Patterns of Deception
(Savannah Secrets #11)
by Ruth Logan Herne

I hope you give cozy mysteries a try, if you haven't already. It's a great way to pass a few hours, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make your heart a little lighter. Reading a cozy mystery with a mug of your favorite hot beverage (lemonade substitutes nicely in the summer), a comfy corner, and a snuggly dog or cat if one is available. 

Do you read cozy mysteries?
If so, who are some of your fave authors? What do you like most about this genre?
If you haven't read one yet, what intrigues you about this genre?


Ten Clues You Are In a Cozy Mystery
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC, Carrie lives in Georgia with her husband Eric. 

She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can't stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 -


Are You Thinking About a Change?

Are You Thinking About a Change?

 One of the basic rules for new authors is to stick to your genre. 

That’s good advice. When we’re just breaking into publishing there is very little that is more important than building a relationship of trust between you and your readers. Establishing your “brand” and sticking to it is key to acquiring a loyal readership.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

As we publish more stories, we can start broadening our brand. Many authors are able to wiggle to the right a bit or wiggle to the left and publish books that are almost like the stories their readers expect. They’re staying true to their brand, though. A Ruthy book is still a Ruthy book. A Mary Connealy book is still a Mary Connealy book. Erica’s new regency romance series is still all Erica.

We love that, don’t we? We know what to expect from our favorite authors. It’s like going to our stand-by restaurant and ordering something we’ve never tried before. We can do that because we trust the source. We’re pretty sure we’ll enjoy something new from them.

But what if an author wants to completely change genres?

Let’s explore this a bit.

All but two of the twelve books (soon to be thirteen) that I’ve published have been in the genre niche of Amish Historical Romance.

One of the two exceptions was “A Home for His Family,” but it didn’t wiggle too far away from my original niche – it was still Historical Romance. I call that a one-degree difference.

Are You Thinking About a Change?
This book is available here!

In the novella that was published in a collection by Bethany House in 2019, “An Amish Christmas Recipe Box,” I went one degree in a different direction, to Contemporary Amish Romance.

Are You Thinking About a Change?
This story is available here!
My readers followed me to those side-steps, but Amish story fans are a little different than other fans in that their loyalty tends to follow the genre rather than the author. So if I try to go very far afield, I risk losing them.

For example, what if I tried a story with a two-degree difference? Instead of Amish Historical Romance, I wrote Contemporary Western Romance? Do you see the two degrees?

If I did that, I would need to market my new story heavily because I’m not sure all my readers would follow me. Some would. After all, I would still be writing for the Christian market, and I would still be writing Romance.

But what if I took a completely different track?

Right now, I’m working on a Cozy Mystery aimed at the secular market.

What??? No Amish! No Romance! No Historical!

Doing something like that takes a LOT of deep thought and planning, and even more prayer.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

I had to ask myself a big question: How committed am I to this change?

When the idea first hit me a couple years ago, it sounded like fun. I’m a true Agatha Christie fan, both in print and on video. Some of my favorite authors are Dorothy Sayers and Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite television shows include Murdoch Mysteries, Monk, and Midsomer Murders. I love picking up a new cozy mystery and curling up with it for an evening or two. Maybe I could try writing one!

That fun idea turned into an obsession. I’ve researched how to write mysteries, and cozies in particular. I’ve read every new title I could get my hands on. I even started planning my own cozy mystery series.

That’s when I knew I was hooked. Somehow, some-when, I would write this story.

But was I committed to starting my career over from scratch? That’s a scary proposition.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

Then I realized I wasn’t going to start MY career over. Jan Drexler would still write Amish Romances. Someone else was going to be the cozy mystery writer…I would need to adopt a pen name for this new genre.

Do you see how I skirted the problem of trying to take my readers with me from one genre to the next? My Amish romance readers will still be happy with my installments of Amish stories, either contemporary or historical. (I love those readers and don’t want to risk losing them!)

And this other person – I haven’t settled on a pen name yet – will be my alter-ego, happily murdering people in light-hearted stories.

By the way, that is the very weird thing about cozy mysteries – they are light-hearted stories with murder on the side.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

So, how do I market this new author?

First, I need a pen name (still in progress.)

Then a new website, Facebook page, Goodreads page, Amazon page, Bookbub… you’ve got it. All the marketing tools need to be re-done for this new author name.

Finally, a new marketing strategy. Breaking into the secular market is different than the homey world of Inspirational publishing I’ve enjoyed for the past nine years. I’ll have to learn the ropes in this sometimes cold, sometimes friendly world of secular publishing.

But before all that can even start, I must finish writing the first book.

And no, I’m not going to tell you who-done-it.

Are You Thinking About a Change?

So, I have to ask myself the big question again – how committed am I to taking on a new genre?

I knew I was going to follow the first story to the end when a plotting tangle kept me awake one night.

I was even more convinced I was sticking with it when I started writing the story and realized I was hiding details from my sleuth that I already knew – like the murderer’s name, method, and motivation – and thinking she would never guess.

When the setting and side characters became real in my mind, I knew I was ready.

Yes, I’m committed to giving this a try.

What about you? Have you ever changed genres, or thought about it?

Or if you are pre-published, have you decided which genre your stories fit in?

And let’s have a bit of fun in the comments! Every commenter will have their name in the drawing for a copy of “Convenient Amish Proposal.”

Are You Thinking About a Change?

If you include a suggestion for my new pen name in your comment, you’ll also be in the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. So suggest away!

Are You Thinking About a Change?

Writing a Saints Day Mystery

guest, Marilyn Leach

Someone asked me where on earth I got the idea to write an All Saints Day mystery.  My question in return was, “After visiting the North of England, how could you not write a Saints Day mystery?”  England’s North Country is steeped in abbey ruins, wild winds, and brooding history.  Venerable churches, stately homes, lively villages, and the North Sea all set the stage for activating creative thought.  It invites storytelling.

Writing a Saints Day Mystery
Entrance to the crypt for ancient Celtic pilgrim of faith, Cedd, in the village church at Lastingham, England

When I visited the little village church in Lastingham, England, I was awestruck when entering the crypt of Celtic churchman, St. Cedd.  The setting was truly medieval and the atmosphere hallowed.  An historical account has been established of how Cedd and his brother, after ordination in the seventh century, traveled from Holy Island in the North Sea to this very spot.  They established a religious community, and the church that sits atop the crypt is still very active and central to the village goings-on.  It isn’t just a building.  Centuries of people’s daily lives, hopes, fears, prayers, and faith live within the stones of this ancient monument.  And what stories could the stones tell?  I was inspired.  Although All Hallows Dead is a modern day whodunit, its roots are in England’s rich history.

Writing a Saints Day Mystery
Dunstanburgh Castle

Of course, the fact that my Berdie Elliott mystery series is set in England, and my main character is a vicar’s wife gifted with extraordinary sleuthing abilities, adds to the interest of writing a Saints Day theme.  With four other books about her exploits already on the shelf, here’s a bit about the story line for All Hallows Dead.

When Berdie Elliott, vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire, attends a church course with her husband in the North of England, she bumps into her former newspaper boss who calls upon her to investigate beguiling circumstances that spell murder.  From the landed Cavendish family to the local pub’s manager, Criswell Abbey and its village are steeped in a centuries-old mystery.  The legend of a departed churchman, a mysterious bell tower, England’s tangled history, a delayed marriage proposal, and a wily parrot all help Berdie to declare the truth in All Hallows Dead.

Writing a Saints Day Mystery
Buy Amazon

Just for a tickle, here’s an excerpt
Berdie Elliott and her best friend, Lillie Foxworth, often find themselves in hot water, and they’re not brewing tea.

What I found is absolutely priceless. There’s….” Berdie stopped when she became aware of clip-clop steps in the nave. “Shh.” She put her index finger to her lips.
“Why shush?” Lillie didn’t make her voice particularly quiet.
Berdie raised her brows and pointed toward the nave. “Someone’s about the place,” she whispered. “We can’t let on that we’re in here…”
The steps outside became louder. They were advancing toward the tower.
Lord have mercy.
There was a hesitation.
Berdie held her breath. She realized instantly that whoever was on the other side of the door, was perhaps one who knew all the secrets of this place which could mean she and Lillie were in very real danger.

 Reading All Hallows Dead isn’t complete until you can snuggle into a comfy chair with a steaming cup of tea.  It’s a cozy mystery that’s just right for short autumn days and long blustery nights.  Cheers

To find out more about Marilyn, see snaps of England, or view other books she’s written

To purchase an ebook

Writing a Saints Day MysteryAt the age of nine, Marilyn wrote her first play with a childhood neighbor, “The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet”. It was a mystery. And she’s been writing in one form or another, hobby or livelihood, since. As well as teaching art, she’s had the opportunity to co-author several plays that have been performed on both church and secular stages, as well as two screenplays. Marilyn has had the good fortune of “discovering her roots” while visiting England where she developed lasting relationships with wonderful people there. It has greatly impacted her writing. A keen fan of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and David Cook’s Hetty Wainthropp series, Marilyn was inspired to write her Berdie Elliott Mystery series. It takes place in a small English village where the vicar’s wife, Berdie Elliott, is the divine sleuth. Marilyn lives lakeside in a cottage on the outskirts of Denver near the foothills.

LOVE'S A MYSTERY IN SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY!!!!!!CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: Mystery vs. Romantic Suspense vs. ThrillerTen Clues You Are In a Cozy MysteryAre You Thinking About a Change?Writing a Love TriangleWriting a Saints Day Mystery

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