Posted in News
October 9, 2012

Fifty Shades of Cozy?

As I mentioned in another blog post, I write cozy mysteries, along with my steamy romantic suspense novels. I’ve just returned from the huge mystery fan conference, Bouchercon, which was in Cleveland this year.

It’s fascinating that I heard a lot of discussion about “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Yes, even at a mystery conference. Most of the writers thought the book was poorly written and are amazed by its success. There was a great deal of dissecting going on. I was standing in a circle of about 12 writers and had the distinction of having been the only one who read all three books in the series. “I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, ” I told them. And I did.  I’m not sure I would have admitted to reading erotic romance in such company  a year ago. But that’s one of the gifts of this trend—it’s opened up the discussion on many different levels.

In fact, I sat in on a  panel titled “Fifty Shades of Cozy.”  The panelists were Rosemary Harris, Clare O’Donohue. Catriona McPherson, Duffy Brown, and Dorothy St. James.

To be clear, these women are not writing erotic scenes in their books, but they do push the “cozy” boundaries. Rosemary suggested that the definition of cozy has changed and that nobody really knows what it is anymore.

Should there be cursing in a cozy?  Should there be sex? Both answers from all panelists were similar. If the situation and characters call for it, it’s fine for both. Clare O’Donohue said that where the line is drawn for her is with violence.

They all agree that graphic scenes of violence do not belong in a cozy. I also think that when they were talking about writing sex they are not talking about writing graphic sex scenes—but there is definite room in this genre to heat it up a bit, as I mentioned in the previous post about this.

It seems to me that many genres and sub-genres are shifting these days. As a reader, I like to explore a variety of books. I rarely pay attention to the categories that the New York execs in the industry come up with. What about you?

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  • elizabethshore

    Wholeheartedly agree, Liz! One person’s burnt sienna is another person’s orange. Or brown. Categories are not hard-edged boundaries. There are nuances in all, which is why I ignore them, too. My version of cozy might be someone else’s edgy! Loved your post. I read all three 50 Shades books, too, because I wanted to speak intelligently about them if someone asked. I owed it to myself and the author to have done my homework.

    Reply to elizabethshore
    • Post authorLizEverly

      Thanks! And about the 50 Shades books… I think readers need to read all three to really appreciate the story. That said, I could have written it in ONE book. LOL.

      Reply to LizEverly
  • madeline iva

    I’ve always thought that The Sookie Sackhouse Series (that the TV show TRUE BLOOD is based upon) were cozies. There are sex scenes. People say “fuck” in these books. But they have that small community feel, they have their cast of regular characters, and a cozy structure. We live in a culture that has been founded on an appreciation for individuality, and for those who don’t belong anywhere else. I think that the way in which publishing is blossoming today is through embracing that same kind of thing in writing. Hurray for cozies with a little steam heat!

    Reply to madeline iva
    • elizabethshore

      I agree! Nothing wrong with making the readers squirm just a bit – in a cozy kinda way. 🙂

      Reply to elizabethshore

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