This weekend, our guest blogger is my good friend and fellow Canadian author, Erika Chase. In a parallel life Erika, AKA Linda Wiken, is a former mystery bookstore owner.
The fifth book in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, Law and Author, came out last Sept. A new series, the Dinner Club Mysteries is due in July under her real identity (Linda Wiken). Toasting Up Trouble introduces the Culinary Capers gang. She’s a member of those deadly dames, the Ladies’ Killing Circle. She's been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel for A Killer Read and for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story from Crime Writers of Canada. Her website is www.erikachase.com. Please welcome Erika, and Linda!
A couple of weeks ago, one Type M blogger wrote about mystery conferences. Now I’d like to present you with a cozy view of the conference world. And believe me, it’s a different one.
Of course, rule number one, is choose your conference. For those of us who write cozies, Malice Domestic, held the last weekend in April or first in May every year, in Bethesda, MD is the place to be. There’s a good mix of writers and readers which provides a great opportunity to renew friendships, share ideas and grab some tips, and to foster new readers all the while having a fun time schmoozing.
The secret is this – cozy readers love cozy mysteries and that means, they love meeting the authors. If you don’t think you’re a cozy reader, beware – you might be. Cozy refers to a gentler mystery, one where excesses in sex, language and violence seldom if ever grace the page. Of course, there are murders! But there’s not the detailed descriptions nor the accompanying forensics to taint the reader’s gentle reading experience.
More often these days, cozies are alternatively referred to as traditional mysteries. You know, like Agatha Christie used to pen. We have a puzzle, a full cast of characters, and a setting that plays a large role. In fact, most cozy mysteries come in series, because the readers want to meet their characters in more than one book and see how their lives evolve.
Do not make the mistake of thinking cozies are fluff. Of course, some may be, but by and large they deal with important social issues, they highlight strong heroines in the roles of amateur sleuths, and justice prevails. Some are decidedly edgier than others; some are more humorous; some appeal to pet lovers; some to handicrafters…cozies run the gamut of reading tastes.
Another conference that fits that bill is Left Coast Crime which appeals to a wider audience but where cozy writers and readers also feel welcome. Having just come back from LCC 2016 in Phoenix, AZ (another advantage of this conference set in the dead of winter – the hot left coast locations!), I’m still pumped and have jumped back into my rewrites with renewed vigour.
There are also numerous regional mystery conferences across the country such a Killer Nashville, Magna Cum Murder, and Sleuthfest. In fact, you probably don’t have to travel too far to find one that fits your reading and writing tendencies.
Promotion is such an important part of being an author these days and being visible is a key factor in this. It’s all well and good to use social media but nothing can beat face-to-face and word-of-mouth.
So, my advice is to save your pennies, choose wisely, and to go out and enjoy!
I’d like to end with a special thank you to my good friend Barbara Fradkin for inviting me to Type M for Mystery!