Mona Marple’s Cozy Mystery 2018 In Review

And so 2018 draws to a close.

It’s been a pretty interesting year so I thought I’d do a review post sharing some of my highs. I haven’t really had any lows! 

The year began with the debut of my Waterfell Tweed cozy mystery series, a series that focuses around Sandy and the not so peaceful village she lives in. As much as Sandy would like to spend her time focusing on the café and book shop she owns, she instead finds herself dragged into a series of crimes. Most of them murders.

Once Upon a Crime, the first book, was released in January, followed quickly by A Tale of Two Bodies. February saw the release of the Valentine’s Day themed instalment, A Valentine’s Kill, and Murder Most Remote, where Sandy ventures away from Waterfell Tweed and visits the Isle of Mull. Sadly, her book-buying trip isn’t the relaxing break she’d hoped for, in this closed room mystery. 

In March, the first three books were released in one handy box set, and the fifth book Bang! You’re Dead was released. This book allowed me to bring to life Heavenli Bodie, a character I invented over ten years ago!

In April, I must have been particularly lazy because I didn’t release a new book – looking back, I suspect that’s because of the two week Easter school holiday. I always find it harder to fit in writing time when my daughter’s off school.

In May, The Black Rock Murder released. 

June saw the debut of my Mystic Springs paranormal cozy mystery series, with the release of The Ghosts of Mystic Springs. This series focuses on Connie Winters, the town medium, and her dead sister Sage. These books are longer than the Waterfell Tweed ones, but the two series’ are interlinked in a way that readers seem to love!

In July, it was back to Waterfell Tweed for the release of The Cold Case – the seventh book. I love this book, because it’s one of the clearest examples I’ve had of the killer revealing themselves to me. I did NOT want the killer in this book to be the killer, and in fact I was almost at the finale scene when they whispered in my ear and said, “you do know I did it, don’t you?”. I argued back and forth with them, with them passionately insisting they were the killer, until I had to accept that they were right. Readers have been wonderfully kind about the ending in this book and how right it felt.

In August, books 4-6 of the Waterfell Tweed series were released in a handy box set, and The Secrets of Mystic Springs was released. 

September was another quiet month with no releases, again thanks to the school holidays allowing me no writing time in August. I’m grateful to have the flexibility to be at home with my daughter throughout the school holidays, especially as her additional needs means she can’t access typical out-of-school childcare. 

In October, ready for Hallowe’en, The Curse of Mystic Springs was released, and then things became a little festive ready for Christmas.

In November, two anthologies released featuring short stories of mine. Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing was a great project to be involved in, not least because all of the proceeds of the anthology go to a no-kill animal refuge. My story for this anthology was The Robbery of Mystic Springs, a prequel that sees Connie Winters facing her first Christmas in Mystic Springs. Newly dumped, it’s down to her to come to the rescue of her no-good ex when he’s the prime suspect for the robbery of the town department store.

Also in November, Cozy Christmas Crimes was released. My story for this anthology was The Candy Cane Killer, another prequel but this one set in Waterfell Tweed. This story goes back to Sandy’s youth and sees her as a teenager who gets a little more independence than she bargained for when the Mayor is killed at the town’s Christmas Lights Switch On.

Finally, in December, The Santa Claus of Mystic Springs was released. This book began as one question: what if Santa is on the naughty list this year? It was lots of fun to write and readers are being awfully kind with their reviews. 

And this draws the year to a close. I’ve managed to create and publish 11 books, two short stories and two box sets, without writing full-time. I have a busy life to juggle away from writing and this year I set myself the goal of using those pockets of time when I might scroll for too long on my phone, or stay in bed for extra sleep I don’t need. I think I’ve done that and put something fun and lighthearted out into the world. 

I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful readers in the world, many of whom connect with me in my weekly eMail updates, on my Facebook page, or in my private Facebook reader group

As 2018 draws to a close, I mainly feel grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had.

2019 is already shaping up to be an amazing year with lots of exciting projects. I’ll be starting the year with a very long flight on Jan 1, followed by a writing retreat in beautiful Bali, so stay tuned for photographs and updates. 

When I get home after that trip, I’ll do another post sharing my plans for the year ahead.

Thank you so much for your support and I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

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