More, More, More! A Little Heat Can Go A LONG Way
So in my other life I am a cozy mystery author, among other things. My definition of cozy is a mystery solved by an amateur sleuth, with the plot having very little in the way of sex, violence, or using curse words. For potty-mouthed little ol’ me, this can be a challenge.
But this blog isn’t about cozy mysteries and this post isn’t about my love of cussing. What it’s about is romance. In this case, the lack of it, even when there’s supposed to be one. One of the books I’ve recently read has a long-term boyfriend-girlfriend relationship and it’s just well, really boring. There’s nothing else I can say about it. You don’t have to go “all the way” to give me a good romance. Seriously. A tingle here or there. A hot breath against the neck. A flick of the tongue. C’mon people!
I’m all for NOT having a romance in a mystery if you’re not going to give me just a little to chew on, so to speak. Who says there needs to be one at all? Of course it’s up to the author (and their editor) how much sizzle to put in, and cozy mystery readers don’t want Fifty Shades of Grey. Or at least that’s what I’m told. (Although someone is reading that book out there and I’m guessing some cozy readers must crossover.) I don’t expect hot sex in a cozy, either. But what I do expect is well-rounded characters and for me sex and love is all a part of it. I mean who among us hasn’t felt a tingle from time to time? Been in love? Lusted after someone?
That’s why writing and reading erotic romance for me is such a great outlet. And what’s even better for me is the whole romantic suspense sub-genre, which really blends it all together so well. Add a little erotic tension and I’m a goner.
Two of my favorite romantic suspense authors are JoAnn Ross and Sandra Brown. Both of them pen books that could be used in a class to show exactly what good romantic suspense is. Sandra Brown’s THE WITNESS was an incredible study on the whole captive-romance thing. I literally could NOT put it down.Ya coulda cut the tension with a butter knife. So thick. And Joanna’s Ross’s BLAZE was one of the best romantic suspense novels I’ve ever read. The pacing was perfect, the heat between the two main characters was amazing, and the plot was riveting.
So what do good cozy mysteries and romantic suspense have in common? On the face of it not much really. But it’s all about balance and tone isn’t it? Both Sandra Brown and JoAnn Ross have it mastered on the romantic suspense side of things. That delicate balance between danger and romance. In between bombs and fires, we have down times. And during those times, of course, hawt tension leading to great sex scenes.
I am not trying to diss cozy mysteries. I love them, when they are done well, which is why I write them. A few of the cozy writers that I think handle romance well are Elizabeth Peters, Donna Andrews, Lois Winston, and Kylie Logan. I just wonder if some editors and writers out there need to get with the program and allow these characters to have a wee bit more romance in their lives.
What do you think? How many genres do you read?