As rewarding as it is, writing can be stressful. Not, for the most part, the actual writing, but there is so much about the business of writing that isn't writing! As in every business, things don't always go your way and sometimes it's nice to do something distinctly NOT business oriented.
Like read a good book outside of your genre of writing. Recently, I began a murder mystery blog. I've always loved to read murder mysteries, especially 'cozy' murder mysteries.
What are cozies? Well, I'm glad you asked. According to Wikipedia, "Cozy is a subgenre of crime fiction whereby sex and violence are downplayed or treated humourously. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work that tried re-creating the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. " Think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple as one of the foremothers of the cozy murder mystery protagonist, though the modern incarnation is just as likely to be a thirty-something mom on the run or a busy forty-something shop owner, as a nosey knitting biddy in a small village.
Here are some signs you're reading a cozy:
- The protagonist (main recurring character) is a woman.
- The setting is a village or small town.
- Violence is seldom graphic, and often occurs 'off stage'.
- The writing may be light-hearted; humor is sometimes a feature of the dialogue or characterization.
- Secondary characters are sometimes exaggerated for humorous effect.
- The protagonist is NOT a law enforcement professional, nor a private detective. However... her significant other (husband, boyfriend) or a family member may be.
- Any one of the 'rules' may be broken, but not all of them.
Some leading writers of 'cozy' murder mysteries:
- Diane Mott Davidson
- Katherine Hall Page
- Dorothy Cannell
- Carolyn G. Hart
- Joan Hess
- Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace
- Cleo Coyle
- And many, many others, too numerous to name.
Also, they often give you (as many romances do) a fascinating look into businesses and hobbies you've never looked into before. Right now I'm reading 'Through a Glass, Deadly' by Sarah Atwell, a mystery about a glass blowing shop owner and instructor!
So now you know what my main recreation is... I loooove reading cozy murder mysteries - and I'm overjoyed most of them are series books, because when I like a character I want to read more! - and I'm enjoying blogging about them. If you read them too, drop in on me sometime at: Cozy Murder Mysteries