Sunday, February 7, 2021

Fish Out of Water - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Marc Jedel back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Marc starts a new series with FISH OUT OF WATER, his first Ozarks Lake Mystery.

Kathy: You start a new series with fiSh OUt of WaTER. First off, why the interesting choice of capitalization for your title?

MJ: My book cover designer is very creative. She selected a fun font that reflects the whimsical nature of my humorous cozy mystery. I think she did an awesome job of creating a beautiful cover for Fish Out of Water.

Kathy: You move from the Silicon Valley to the Ozarks with this new series. Why choose this location for your new series?

MJ: I’m very excited that so many readers seem to love my Silicon Valley Mystery series. I felt it would keep things fresh for me and my readers to create a completely different series in a new location, with very different characters, different type of humor, different style of sleuthing, and having a wife and husband providing roughly alternating chapters from their own point-of-view.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

MJ: My wife has felt a little cheated that no character in my other books was based on her—even in some exaggerated fashion. As I started thinking about starting a second series, I thought it would be fun to set it in a small town in Arkansas. My wife’s grandparents lived in Arkansas on a small ranch and I grew up in the south, spending time in and near Arkansas. That gave me the setting for the Ozarks Lake Mystery series and I used some names and personalities of different relatives for characters in the first book. Alas, there’s still no character based directly on my wife. But, I’m pretty confident this has been a wise decision for my marriage.

I’ll continue writing stories in both series.

Kathy: There are several nods to fishing, from Elizabeth's last name to the title and more. Is fishing a hobby of yours?

MJ: No, I don’t go fishing. The closest I come is that I eat fish. I actually thought of the title of the first book, FISH OUT OF WATER, as a way to explain how one of the protagonists (Jonas) experiences Arkansas as a life-long West Coaster. It stuck with me when I was brainstorming titles and then I immediately had ideas for future books in the series that would use a similar fishing phrase. So, I’ve already decided to call book 2, SWIMMING WITH THE FISHES. Not sure if I’ll be able to use phrases like Bottom Feeder; Hook, Line, and Sinker; or Holy Mackerel! But it sure sounds fun to try.

Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

MJ: I outline—even down to fairly good detail. I admit to it. If I didn’t, I’d still be trying to figure out how the book would end, or who gets killed. Once I thought I could wing it from a partial outline and I wound up changing the killer halfway through the story. It only took me a few chapters before I realized that wasn’t a great plan as readers would likely object.

Some authors feel that outlining takes all the fun out of writing but for me, I feel I get to have twice the fun. First I get the pleasure of figuring out what happens, whodunit, and why. That can be fun, frustrating, and much like putting a puzzle together while hoping you haven’t lost one of the pieces under the couch. Then, when I start writing, I know where I’m heading and I can be more focused on making the scenes fun, writing great dialogue, and even improvising when something seems off in my outline. But how would I know if it were heading off a cliff if I didn’t have an outline?

The outlining helps me stay on track and gives me the flexibility to see where the characters will take me without going too far astray. Unless I decide to go astray because I’ve got a funny idea.

Kathy: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing your work? What do you dislike about marketing?

MJ: I worked in high-tech marketing for most of my career so I enjoy it. In many ways, I believe my marketing career helped me to develop as a writer. After all, I wrote fiction every day. We just called it emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

Perhaps the part I dislike most about marketing my own books is that they don’t come with the huge marketing budgets that big firms tend to put behind their products. It certainly makes generating more awareness of my books a bit more challenging.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

MJ: I’ve started writing book 2, SWIMMING WITH THE FISHES, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series underway. I’ve also got book 5, HUH? WHY? and PUNCH (say it aloud a few times quickly) in the Silicon Valley Mystery series partly plotted. And yes, it takes place in Hawaii.

Kathy: Anything else to tell readers?

MJ: I hope readers try my novels and enjoy them. My books aren’t the right fit for you if you’re looking for deep introspection, intense psychological thrillers, or dense, wordy prose where nothing much happens. I feel like there’s enough serious, intense, and scary already in people’s lives so reading should be an escape where you’ll enjoy yourself.

FISH OUT OF WATER is available at: You can find the Silicon Valley Mystery series at: The first three are also out on audiobook from Tantor Audio everywhere audiobooks are sold. All of the books are free for Kindle Unlimited members. I love to hear from readers via email or Facebook as that tends to motivate me to keep going on the next blank page.

Kathy: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

MJ: Website:




Amazon Author Page:




The First Ozarks Lake Mystery

Elizabeth Trout and her new husband, Jonas, return to her hometown of Jenkins, Arkansas to help settle her grandmother's estate. While she expects sadness over the loss of Mimi and difficulty dealing with her take charge mother, she doesn't expect to be arrested by her ex-boyfriend for the murder of Mimi's property manager. Despite a murder charge looming over her, Elizabeth and Jonas settle into life in Jenkins with Jonas learning what small town life is really like. With no confidence that the new sheriff will look further than Elizabeth for the killer, Elizabeth's mom decides the couple must find other viable suspects. They uncover many secrets, but will any of them lead to the real killer? 

In FISH OUT OF WATER we get the story from both Elizabeth's and Jonas's point of view. While it's interesting to get their different takes I prefer sticking with a singular point of view. Although each chapter clearly indicates whose point of view it is, I still found myself somewhat muddled early on. On the whole. Jonas's point of view was much stronger and I found myself relating much more to him than Elizabeth.

I really like Jonas and his idiosyncracies. His fish out of water exploits in Arkansas were charming and funny, and I love how he deals with the residents of his wife's hometown. I found Elizabeth's mom to be a hoot and I am very happy that she is not my mother. While I liked Elizabeth, I never formed a great connection with her.

The first Ozarks Lake Mystery is a tale of secrets and small town life with well aimed digs covered by Southern congeniality. It's a tale of fitting in and finding home. An interesting mystery with several surprises makes FISH OUT OF WATER a good start to a new series.


 fISh OUt of WaTER An Ozarks Lake Mystery by Marc Jedel

About fISh OUt of WaTER

fISh OUt of WaTER - An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: BGM Press
Number of Pages: 275

A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

FISH OUT OF WATER is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.

Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!  

About Marc Jedel

For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author." This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.

Author Links:  






Purchase Links: Amazon  

Straight HTML giveaway link:


  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review and for hosting me today. I too am glad Mary isn't my mother but she was based partially on my wife's grandmother, a woman you never wanted to face in a competitive game of cards. Fish Out of Water is only $0.99 during this Great Escapes Tour so it's a perfect chance for readers to check out this new series.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by...and bless your wife's mom!