Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The 5 W's: Ellen Jacobson's Murder at the Marina, Giveaway, New Release Joselyn Vaughn's A Penny Saved

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Five W's in Story event. I am thrilled to introduce two friends today who have new releases out for you to enjoy this summer! Excellent writers with funny, entertaining stories to share with you. Congratulations to mystery author Ellen Jacobsen and sweet romance author Joselyn Vaughn!
The 5 W's in Story
Because the 5 W's are the essence of a story, student writers usually listen to a lecture about who, what, where, when and why and the H.  We're focused on story at this blog, so I thought we could learn about the 5 W's by seeing how authors use them in their books.

You'll find this series with my guests informative and entertaining and not a stuffy lecture in a dusty, old classroom with a professor palavering on and on and on. 

* * *
Author Ellen Jacobson debuts her first cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, during her blog tour this month. I love being a stop on her tour. Ellen is an experienced boater so it makes sense she authored a  mystery packed with humor that takes place at a marina. Read on to find out the Five W's in this engaging story. Then, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Murder at the Marina ebook. Deadline for entry is 9:00 pm ET, Sunday, July 15!!

The 5 W's: Ellen Jacobson's Cozy Mystery, 
Murder at the Marina

The main characters are Mollie McGhie and her husband, Scooter, who moved to a small coastal town in Florida a few months prior to the start of “Murder at the Marina.” After Scooter buys Mollie a sailboat, they spend a lot of time at the local marina where they meet all sorts of interesting and quirky characters including:

·         Ned and Nancy Schneiderthe owners of the marina; Nancy runs a tight ship, Ned is more easy-going with a soft spot for cats
·         Captain Dan—a boat broker, who uses his dubious southern charm to try to woo the ladies
·         Penny Chadwicklives aboard her boat and teaches sailing classes at the marina                            
·         Jack and Sandy Holt—had hoped to be retired by now; instead Jack runs a business from his boat while Sandy suffers from health issues
·         Ben Moretti—a wannabe pirate often found drinking beer; struggles to make ends meet
·         Alejandra Lopez—a waitress at the Sailor's Corner Cafe; saving up to open her own nail salon
·         Mrs. Moto—a Japanese bobtail cat who has the run of the marina


I've always enjoyed reading cozy mysteries. As a “gentle” read, they can be a nice escape from the real world at times. Cozies typically don't have explicit sex scenes, naughty language, violence etc. They feature likable amateur sleuths, often women, who have a certain hobby, business, or occupation which puts them at the center of the action and provides an opportunity to investigate murders.


Cozy mysteries often take place in a small town where everyone knows each other. I created the fictional tourist town of Coconut Cove on the Gulf Coast of Florida as the setting for my series, inspired in part by my own experiences living on our sailboat in the Sunshine State. I really enjoyed coming up with locations in the town that the tight-knit community could gather at.

Locals and tourists know that you can always find delicious food and a bit of gossip at the Sailor's Corner Cafe. Penelope's Sugar Shack is a great place to satisfy your sweet toothMollie is particularly fond of their brownies. Because there's a big focus on boating in Coconut Cove, Melvin's Marine Emporium does a brisk business. And, of course, Palm Tree Marina, is where all of the action, not to mention mysterious happenings, occur.


The series takes place in present day. I do think it will be fun to look back on “Murder at the Marina” at some point in the future and see how dated it will have become. Will young people chuckle at the mention of antiquated technology like cell phones and computers?


I drew upon my own experiences buying a sailboat with my husband in New Zealand, learning to sail, and living aboard our boat when developing this series. Like Mollie, sailing started off as my husband's dream. Fortunately, unlike Mollie, my husband didn't “surprise” me with a sailboat for our anniversary. After initially chartering sailboats, it was actually my idea to buy our first boat and see if this lifestyle suited me. And I guess it must have as we ended up coming back to the States and buying a bigger sailboat in Florida.

It's been a lot of fun having a sailing theme for my series and introducing readers to what life is like at a marina, the types of people one might meet through this lifestyle, and the highs and lows of boat ownership.


Writing a cozy mystery requires some level of planning. You need to figure out the suspects, their possible motives, and alibis (as well as which one of them did it); the clues and red herrings; and how the murder was committed. When I wrote “Murder at the Marina” all of this evolved over several drafts. I'm currently working on the next book in the series, “Bodies in the Boatyard,” and have taken a much more planned approach including putting together a detailed outline. As a result, the writing process is going much faster and much more smoothly.

You can read more about the process of writing “Murder at the Marina” here - https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/2018/04/16/cozy-mystery-publishing-novel-writing/

Cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina

Back of the Book

Murder at the Marina is the first in the new lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series.

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

* * *
JQ's Review: Ellen Jacobson knows boats AND how to tell an entertaining story.  Not only was it a mystery I couldn't solve right away, but also a tall tale filled with engaging characters including a cat! The mystery, the quirky characters, Mollie's antics in solving the crime, as well as trying to discourage her husband's zeal for boating, kept me turning the pages. If you want a fun summer read, this one is for you. I received an advance copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it for readers. 

Buy Links

You can get a copy of Murder at the Marina at:

* * *
About Ellen

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on her:

The Cynical Sailor Blog - http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/TheCynicalSailor/
Newsletter Sign-up - http://eepurl.com/dpy5sv
* * *

Released Today! Spotlight on Joselyn Vaughn's Sweet Romance, A Penny Saved

A Penny Saved by Joselyn Vaughn
Marriage is the answer, now what was the question?
Back of the Book:
Penny Pounds has never met a challenge she couldn't plow straight through... until she starts forgetting things and misplacing items, causing her to worry that dementia is creeping into her brain. Recalling her mother's similar descent and the burden as a caregiver, Penny’s solution is to snag a husband.

Ken Hayward, visiting to evaluate the flooding around the dam in Pine Bottom, is the first man she crosses off her list of potential mates. His no-nonsense attitude and ability to see beneath her motives threatens to ruin her perfect plans. He intends to finish his work before he gets swept up in any of Penny's shenanigans.

When Penny breaks her ankle, her brother enlists a reluctant Ken as her primary caregiver. Ken soon learns the motives behind her husband hunt, and he must decide whether his heart will let him prevent her from walking down the aisle with the wrong man. 

BUY LINK for A Penny Saved

Click here for more books by Joselyn Vaughn.

Please leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win the ebook, Murder at the Marina. Don't you love learning about new releases? Leave a note of congratulations for these wonderful writers. Thank you.


Juneta key said...

Congratulations to you both on the book releases. Wahoo!

The Cynical Sailor said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today :-)

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Thanks so much for sharing!

J.Q. Rose said...

Ellen--so happy to host you this week, Ellen! Thanks for being a part of the Five W's series.

J.Q. Rose said...

You're welcome, Joselyn. Wishing you great success with Penny's book and the new series!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Juneta, thanks so much for stopping in!!

Nancy Lee said...

Give individuals a chance to pick their own ways. On the off chance that they run somebody over on a walkway, beat the tar out of them and sue them, much the same as you would in the event that it was an auto driver. scooters for senior citizens

Recipes 'n Reads Series: Recipes for Cooking Over the Campfire #recipesnreads

  Recipes 'n Reads Series Today is my turn to offer recipes! Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q.Rose. With MemoriaI D...

Popular Posts from Last Year