My Sleuth Upcycles For A Living

Why did I choose upcycling as my sleuth’s small business?

upcycling wine bottles
Upcycled Wine bottles image courtesy of

Every Cozy Mystery, well almost all of them, have the element of a small business owner being the sleuth. I chose to have my sleuth own an upcycling business. Why use someone who upcycles? Well, quite honestly, I had not seen it done before. Having read hundreds of the cozy little mysteries, what is normally found are owners of:

  • book stores
  • antique shops
  • hobby shops like crochet, knitting and quilting
  • coffee shops
  • bakeries

My brain has a pretty good working knowledge of all of the above. So, how could I make my series of mysteries different? With upcycling or repurposing being quite the trend in decor for the home and office, it seemed a good choice for my sleuth to have a business in. Using my knowledge of antiques and recycling, I already had a good beginning for her business. Besides, I love that sort of thing.

Growing up, my family was pretty poor. Grandma taught me how to recycle before that was ever really a word in the dictionary. One just found ways to re-use items instead of throwing them away. It would be decades before I understood that what I was doing was re-purposing or upcycling items.

Cool factoid: Earth day was created on my birthday!

It only seemed natural for my sleuth, Roni Rainer, to have a business in the fictional small town of Beaver Falls that specializes in upcycling found items. Finding items to repurpose in her shop are easily found in her community through estate and garage sales, auctions and donations. I could visualize a shop with this sort of merchandise in my mind; so, I ran with it.

Where do I find repurposing ideas for her shop?

Oh goodness, there are a slew of places that I can search for ideas! Some are just in my own head but others can be found easily. I watch a lot of HGTV which often gives me inspiration. There are also upcycle  projects on their website that appeal to me.

Other places to look, if you want some ideas are Pinterest boards, Martha Stewart and Better Homes and Gardens to name just a few. Seriously, just google the words upcycling or repurposing and you will find all sorts of places to travel to. It is what I do when I need some inspiration for something that Roni or Charlotte will make in the shop known in the series as, Revived.

My idea for her business seems to be appreciated by my readers. There was even a review that expressly mentioned an upcycled item. The gal said she wanted one of those ladder tables that the gals created. It made me chuckle just a bit because I want my hubby to make me one too.

Are you curious about what Roni and Charlotte create? By the way, the upcycled ladder table is described in the first book of the series. Perhaps now would be a good time to read Book One.

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Getting Started

My Beginning As An Author

In September of 2017, I decided to finally take the plunge and finally write that novel that had been on my bucket list since I was about 10 years old. We won’t go into the specifics of how long it took me finally address that item on the list; suffice it to say it was decades before I finally believed that I could actually accomplish it.

Deciding that it was an accomplishment that was attainable, I came up with a reasonable schedule for myself. I planned to write every day for at least a couple of hours. In other words, I approached my task as if I were going to a job. Writing is work and I knew that I needed to give it the same sort of ethic that I did when I still worked outside of the home. I will admit that some days I worked a good eight hours at it and other days perhaps only four. I did not miss one day as I began my journey.

Author’s fingers typing away!

In between the actual writing times, there was research involved. I needed to know what the parameters were for the genre that I was writing in. I had decided that I wanted to write at least one Cozy Mystery. Once I knew what the acceptable amount of was for the word count, I really started to pay attention to how many words I wrote each day.

The was also the dilemma of whether I wanted to try to find a publisher or if I wanted to go independent. My choice was the indie route and I don’t regret it one bit. On another day, I plan to discuss the format that I used to self-publish.

Working each day became a joy and didn’t really feel like work. I was surprised at how easily the book began to take shape. Finally, in October of 2017 my first book was ready, well, almost ready. There was the editing phase that had to be addressed. I read through it several times, fixing mistakes as I went. It occurred to me that I really needed to get another pair of eyes to look at it, too.

Being a novice at this whole process and not really feeling comfortable with hiring an editor, I went with an option that I felt good about. I asked one of my daughters to read it for me as an editor and not as a family member. That worked out well! She found more mistakes in typing and grammar and she gave me some thoughts on some areas that might need a little more definition or clarity. She was really quite helpful in the process. After going back and forth for a few days, I was finally ready to start the publishing process.

There was a bit of a learning curve involved in the correct formatting for a digital book and a paperback version but I muddled through it. Finally around the middle of October 2017, my book went live. I was ecstatic to say the least!

Once that first book was live, I decided this needed to be a series of books. By November book two in the series was complete and published and I am now working on book three.

I hope you will follow me in my writing journey here on this blog. I plan to tell you about things that I do in my off time (not writing) and I will also talk about authors who inspire me, my favorite books, my pool of inspirations for the actual stories I write, character backgrounds and maybe even some tips that I have found useful along the way.  Of course, there will also be announcements of book launches, too.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will return on a regular basis and if you are so inclined…like my page on Facebook. Beverly Owens, Author 

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