ME on MONDAY – Today: Cosy or Cozy?


When setting out to write, and then market, my new Murder Mystery Jan Christopher series, I had to sit down and think about making a decision or two.

The prime one was, what version of the spelling of ‘cosy’ do I use? With the British ‘s’ or the American ‘z’ (which, as a side note, is said as Zee in the US and Zed in the UK!)

First, what ARE Cosy Mysteries? 

They’re basically easy, light, reads without too much specific detail (no description of graphic violence, an implication of sex, but again no detail… ‘romance’ stops at the bedroom door.) The lead character/s are usually, amateur sleuths, often female, with an emphasis on the characters rather than the police procedure and the crime itself. So Murder She Wrote, rather than Morse.

Often, ‘Cosies’ are fairly short, so novellas, which are anything from 40.000 words to 70,000, or shorter reads of 80-90,000. The ‘novella’ type is quite popular though.

This was, actually, my second decision: what length to go for? I opted for around the 40-50,000 target, Quick, entertaining reads (and I confess, quick and entertaining to write.)

The difference between the spelling of cosy v cozy, though, was a bit of a dilemma.

Cozy, with the ‘z’ seemed the most ‘popular’ on Amazon, but then most of the authors were American, or at least the books were aimed at the American market. I’m British. My characters are British, the settings are in 1970s Britain (North London and Devon) everything else in the books has British English spelling – so why would I opt for coZy? 

Most of my readers for this series, I thought, were more likely to be British readers (or Australian or Canadian – ex-pats), so British spelling.

I decided, however, to use the ‘z’ when any marketing was likely to appear for US readers – so anything I scheduled on Twitter that would appear in the late evening UK time, would likely be daytime in the US. I also occasionally use #cosy and #cozy in order to pick up both hashtags.

Just as an example for those who do not know the difference with spelling:

British English retains the spelling of words absorbed from other languages, mainly French and German. While American English spellings connect to how a word sounds when spoken.

So: British English words ending in our usually end in or in American English:


colour       color

flavour        flavor

humour         humor

neighbour     neighbor

Verbs in British English can be either ‘ize’ or ‘ise’ but are always with ‘ize’ in American English (so this also applies to the British English Cosy v  ‘Cozy’)

BRITISH               US

apologize or apologise Apologize

organize or organise      Organize

recognize or recognise Recognize

double or single ‘L’?


travelled    traveled

travelling    traveling

traveller           traveler

and  ‘ence’ or ‘ense’?


defence         defense

licence      license

offence     offense

pretence pretense

What is frustrating: Microsoft Word. The default for the spellcheck is US spelling. Try to change it on a document that was originally written under US default…? Forget it.

I have recently had to re-edit some of my old word files for my Arthurian Trilogy. Two of the books were British files, so no problem. One was a US file. Could I persuade the spell checker that I wanted to check the spellings as British UK and NOT American? Could I heck! 

I’ve basically ended up adding all the British spellings I need to American Word. dictionary!

But for my Jan Christopher series…  it’s coSy not coZy.

#1 A Mirror Murder

#2 A Mystery of Murder

#3 A Mistake of Murder



Enjoy a cosy coffee – bye for now