Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Getting Away From It All


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:
  1. The protagonist (main recurring character) is a woman.
  2. The setting is a village or small town.
  3. Violence is seldom graphic, and often occurs 'off stage'.
  4. The writing may be light-hearted; humor is sometimes a feature of the dialogue or characterization.
  5. Secondary characters are sometimes exaggerated for humorous effect.
  6. The protagonist is NOT a law enforcement professional, nor a private detective. However... her significant other (husband, boyfriend) or a family member may be.
  7. Any one of the 'rules' may be broken, but not all of them.
For a wonderful description of what a cozy is, visit this best-in-the-business 'cozy' blog: http://cozy-mystery.com/Definition-of-a-Cozy-Mystery.html

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.
Personally, I have found that romance readers often read mysteries as well, I'm not sure why. I think it probably has to do with the fact that both are excellent 'comfort' reads, reassuring us, in a stressful world, that there are good people out there, and things do sometimes end the way they should!

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

9 comments:

  1. Yes, finding that "things other than the business of writing" time is a definite balancing act! Good for you for getting some "free" reading in! :)

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  2. I for one am jealous! I can't find time to read. It's killing me. I've never read a cozy mystery, but if I ever find the time, I'll pick one up.

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  3. Y'know, right now it seems I'm reading the book in half hour snatches, but it gives me that little 'away' time I need!

    In the summer I had a few memorable afternoons where I went out under a tree, sat in a Muskoka chair (like an Adirondack, only Canadian!) and read for a couple of hours.

    Ah... good times!

    I'm SUCH a book nerd!

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  4. Sounds pretty cozy, and we could all use a little of that!

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  5. Hi Donna,

    I'm glad you explained to us about a cozy. And the very best of luck at your new site!

    Amelia

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  6. Sourcebooks is re-releasing all 12 of Georgette Heyer's mysteries (we started last year). Like her regency romances, there's not too much by way of sex or danger, but her biting wit and fabulous plots are still there!!

    Cool new blog, Donna!

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  7. Hi Donna,
    Thanx for giving the definition of a cozy mystery. I THOUGHT I knew what they were but nice to see the actual criteria. :-)

    I'm with Robin, I haven't had nearly enough time to read lately! There are sooo many great books (like those by the CasaBabes) that I'm dying to read. If only there were a couple of extra hours in the day...

    AC
    crawling back into the writing cave

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  8. I enjoy them too. Usually fairly relaxing to read, and good entertainment while the guys watch soccer on TV.

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  9. I don't know if Agatha Christie's works count, but I used to read a lot of them. Now though, it's strictly romance.

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