Well I’d set myself a tough target this past week whilst hubby was away visiting the family in England. I’ve wanted to write a small collection of short stories and now seemed the perfect time. After waving goodbye to him at the airport in Paphos I sat down to start on Wednesday morning. Four days later I have achieved just that. Super. I now have four short stories all around 2500 words long. Reading through them later they all seem to bear a moral tale too, strange. Give me a week or two and I’ll publish them on Amazon. Watch this space!
Some of my writer friends tell me that things have picked up since June. My book sales are slightly above par but revenue is up. Wahoo! Can’t wait for that Amazon cheque (turns away for a laugh!)
I’ve playing around with my website this week too. It’s still a bit of a mess – I’m no techie and I have to design by trial and error. I also lose things – somehow? Please excuse the site and I promise to try harder.
Recently, I’ve heard The Assassins’ Village described as a cosy or cozy mystery. Now I’ve heard of that term before but never really thought too much about it. What exactly does it mean?
When I was writing my second novel, I knew it was a mystery, but I wasn’t sure of its sub-genre. So doing a bit of thinking and research (I love that) I’ve come up with this.
A cosy or cozy depending which side of the Atlantic you’re on, is a fast-paced, feel-good read that, when you put it down, you can hardly wait to get back to it. The story contains lots of clues (as well as red herrings or wild-goose chases). This gives the reader a chance and the feeling of wanting to solve the mystery along with the sleuth. The victim has no real emotional attachment for the reader—s/he’s the villain —so the reader isn’t upset by their death. We have twists and turns as well as surprises but, in the end, justice prevails and the sleuth is the heroine as shown by my own Diana Rivers in The Assassins’ Village.
The cozy’s heroine is usually an amateur sleuth (take Jane Hickson in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple). This role she’s fallen into because she’s intelligent, intuitive, and downright nosey. She’s usually connected to the crime by someone she knows or because she was nearby when it happened. She’s likable, though flawed in a way that is not going to offend the reader – often a minor flaw, showing the reader that the sleuth is human too.
The sleuth has strong relationships; lots of friends, family, acquaintances who feed her missing links to solve the mystery. These characters are often eccentric, annoying, or amusing—just like people we all know. Frequently the protagonist has a friend or spouse who knows facts about the crime that aren’t yet public. This could be a member of the police force, or a prying neighbour for example.
The cosy’s sleuth usually has another job—solving crimes is something she does because she wants to. She could be a shop owner, doctor, nurse, —or she might be retired with extra time on her hands. Instead of or in addition to a profession, a cosy might have a hobby such as sewing, knitting, tennis, or gardening.
The murder in a cosy isn’t described with an excess of gore – this is no Patricia Cornwell look alike. It usually happens before the real story begins like at the beginning. Sometimes there are multiple murders, but they’re described in general terms—not too much blood and guts.
A cosy is often geographically specific, usually in a small town or village, my novel is set in an old and small Cyprus village, complete with a motley collection of people all given rounded characters.
Of course there has to be law enforcement—but they are often short-staffed, unavailable and ineffectual in the short term. Procedural accuracy is often overlooked and not necessarily needed in this genre and the police seldom take the protagonist seriously. A lot of cosies are written as a part of a series because this allows the reader to become emotionally involved with the recurring characters on an on-going basis.
I believe the real measure of a cosy, is a book you want to read while snuggled in your favourite chair on a cold, miserable afternoon, hot chocolate to hand. This is a book that when you finish it, it leaves you with a smile on your face and you’re left wondering when the next one will be published.
Just noticed! The Assassins’ Village is now ranking number 28 in Kindle #mystery & thrillers #women sleuths. AND The Bamboo mirror is ranking number 10 in Kindle #history #horror #ghosts! Wahoo! These are the highest rankings these two books have reached.
What a fantastic week. Thank you everyone! And I hope you all have an equally good week yourselves ahead.