The Sign of the Calico Quartz by Jan Drexler – Guest Post: Why Cozy Mysteries? + Giveaway

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The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler

About The Sign of the Calico Quartz

The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Swift Wings Press (May 20, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 276 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8986137803
Digital Swift Wings Press (May 25, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 242 pages

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.


When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.


As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky, and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?

Why Cozy Mysteries?

That’s a question I find myself answering often. After all, I loved writing historical romance with Amish characters and I’m in the middle of writing my second historical romance set in the Black Hills of South Dakota. So, why try something different?

All I can say is that it was time for a change.

One of my publishers closed their historical line. My other publisher decided not to buy my next two proposals.

It was time for a change.

My mother passed away. My husband retired. Our last child left the nest and moved nine hundred miles away.

It was time for a change.

When I looked for a direction to go, I perused my Goodreads book list. Mysteries.

I looked at my binge-watching television favorites. Mysteries.

Our neighbor put in a new underground propane tank. One day, after the builders dug the hole, I looked down into it. Eight feet deep, six feet wide, twelve feet long. The next day the propane tank would be buried, and it wouldn’t be disturbed for at least twenty years. All I could think was, what a great place to hide a body!

I had found my direction.

I spent the next six months researching how to write a great mystery, and six months after that building my plotline and developing my characters. I took on-line classes, read blog posts, craft books and dozens of cozy mysteries by dozens of authors.

My series was born, and I started writing “The Sign of the Calico Quartz.”

During the writing I discovered something about myself. The year was 2020 – you remember that year, right? Like many people I was frustrated, angry, depressed, and worried. (Do I see nods of agreement?) There were many times I just wanted to do something.

In my writing I found the perfect thing.

Every murder mystery has a killer, and in my story, I could bring that person to justice. That was the satisfying thing I could do. My sleuth, Emma, had found her passion. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Emma became the killer’s nemesis.

Emma doesn’t realize it yet, but that will be her defining motivation throughout the Sweetbrier Inn Mystery series. And like every nemesis, danger will follow her wherever she goes.

She doesn’t work alone. I’ve given Emma a team of helpers: her best friend, Becky; Becky’s cousin, Deputy Cal Cooper; Emma’s Aunt Rose, who has a mysterious past of her own; Thatcher the corgi and Tim the cat. Between them, the crew can handle almost anything.

Since the mysteries are set in a Bed and Breakfast, Emma never lacks suspects. In the Sign of the Calico Quartz, the guests are Paul Peterson, the famous ghost hunter and his personal assistant, Mary Walters. Sam and Nora Nelson, the gold-seekers. The honeymoon couple, Roger and Annie Smith. Montgomery Reynolds, who claims to be writing a history of gold mining in the area. Rose’s best friend, Clara. And then there is Wil Scott, Rose’s partner and first-class chef.

And we can’t forget Dick Brill. Poor Dead Dick.

Is the murderer one of the guests in the inn? Or is it one of the residents of Paragon, the nearby town? Or someone Emma hasn’t run across yet?

All we know so far is that Emma has a killer to catch – her first.

So, back to the question. Why do I write cozy mysteries? Because evil exists and someone has to bring evil to justice – even if it’s only in a fictional story.

About Jan Drexler

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including the award-winning Mattie’s Pledge, and is pleased to be starting a new adventure with a cozy mystery series, The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries. You can find out more about Jan on her website:

Author Links



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