02 December 2013

What's Lit Got To Do With It?

By Fran Rizer

Did you say,

                                Not a damn thing!

 My sixth Callie Parrish mystery is out, and it's not the Great American Novel, not anywhere near literary.  It's another cozyesque, which is what I call the Callie books.

Here's a peek at what happens:

                 Callie and Jane love receiving presents, but 
                 the package under their Christmas tree isn't
                 from Santa.  It's the jolly old elf himself
                 though he's not jolly anymore.

                This investigation takes Callie away from her
                mortuary cosmetician duties to unusual places
                like Safe Sister and the first annual St. Mary
               Turkey Trot.  Sheriff Harmon even temporarily
               deputizes her before Santa's killer attacks both
               Callie and Jane.

A Corpse Under the Christmas Tree isn't great literature, but it was a great pleasure to write, and, according to the emails she receives, Callie's fans get lots of fun and mystery from her. (Yes, readers correspond with Callie, including holiday and birthday wishes.)

For a decent definition of the cozy genre, go to Wikipedia. I probably should have done that myself before thinking that's what I was creating.  Writing the first Callie mystery, I believed it was a cozy, but publishers marketed it and the following ones as Mainstream Mystery, and I created my own genre title--the cozyesque.  

Some cozies include recipes, stitchery patterns, and other useful instructions.  Perhaps additions like that would move me more into the cozy genre. I considered adding knitting or crochet patterns. After all, I learned to crochet and knit when I divorced.

I thought I'd need something to keep me busy every other weekend when the boys were at their dad's.  As though two kids, a house, full-time job, and sideline of writing songs and magazine features left a lot of time!

I learned to knit and crochet.  When the afghan for my king size bed was about twelve inches square, I decided I'd rather go dancing.

I'd still rather dance though I don't look quite like this doing it anymore. 

No knitting or crochet patterns for a Callie book.  I did, however, desire more "cozyesqueness" in the new book.

I  added recipes

No, they aren't scattered through the narrative. When other writers do that, it disrupts my reading.  Callie's brother Frankie has added some of Pa's Southern Recipes and Rizzie's Gullah Recipes at the end of the book.

I hope Callie's readers have as much pleasure reading the new Callie as I did writing it.  I  hope they try the recipes, some of which were previously on the website.

To read an article that made me very happy about the new book, go to http://www.free-times.com/pdf/112713/#p=36 .

This is the first novel I've written with an outline.  Next time, I'll share with you why and how.   
Until we meet again, take care of … you!


janice Law said...

Very best of luck- and I love the cover!

Leigh Lundin said...

Congratulations, Fran! You amaze me and Callie is quite the girl!

Eve Fisher said...

Callie is so much fun!
And, from what I've seen, most Great American Novels are depressing as all get out. The world needs cozies, cozyesques, and FUN!

John Floyd said...

Congratulations, Fran. I agree with Eve--we need more Callies in our lives!

David Dean said...

Count me in on this, too! It doesn't surprise me you (and Callie) get fan letters. Very nice write-up, as well.

Dixon Hill said...

"Cozyesque" -- I love it! Can't wait to pick it up.


Elizabeth said...

Congratulations Fran! Callie Parrish is a terrific character. I've read the first Callie book & it's great to know that there are five more!

R.T. Lawton said...

Fran, my December 20th blog is about a cozy author and I did go to Wikipedia to paraphrase the definition. But actually, I like your term "cozyesque" better.

Fran Rizer said...

Thanks for your comments. I would have responded individually, but I've spent the last twelve hours at the hospital with my younger son. He was dismissed thirty minutes ago. Problem related to dehydration that caused a chemical imbalance. Thanks again. Now back to the horror novel.