01 June 2015

Would you like a little werewolf in your mystery? And how about some sex and swearing?

Personally, I love a little genre shake-up. I’m the kind of person that, if you asked me, “Chocolate, vanilla, or mirabelle plum?” I’d say, “Is it possible to have all three?”

I know that Dixon Hill has investigated romance and mystery, and Eve Fisher's viral post on the $3500 shirt covered history and mystery. But what about fantasy and mysteries?

At the World Fantasy Convention in 2000, I leaped on Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris, which of course have since become the massive TV series, True Blood.

Fun fact: remember how I was vacillating about spending money to travel for writing? Last weekend, I flew to Los Angeles for the Roswell Award presentation, and Sci-Fest LA co-founder David Dean Bottrell, who played the professor on True Blood, shook my hand and said, “I just realized who you are. Wonderful story.” Yes! More fun LA moments on my blog.

"The creature" & David Dean Bottrell from THE LUNCHTIME SHOW at Sci-Fest LA

I also adore Charlaine’s “grave” series featuring Harper Connolly, the girl who was struck by lightning and left with a strange gift: she can now sense dead people and relive the way they died.

Who could resist Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, the big, powerful Chicago wizard who shoves himself into a tiny Volkswagen Beetle and regularly solves crimes, fights bad faeries, and saves the world?

If you’re like me and prefer werewolves (warm, furry) over vampires (cold, dead), I’ll throw in Sparkle Hayter’s Naked Brunch, where a Manhattan secretary with “lycanthropic morphic disorder” investigates a series of murders. This isn’t my favourite of Sparkle’s books, but I always love her craziness.

Full disclosure: I wrote a werewolf thriller of my own, Wolf Ice. I’m reading it at ChiSeries Ottawa Presents on June 9th. They’re putting me last because I asked, “Is it okay to have sex and swearing in our reading?” The paraphrased answer: yes, but we’ll put you last because sometimes a child will come to the readings, and this way, the parents can discreetly usher the minor out before you start your X-rated show.

In all seriousness, I won’t be cussing and tossing my characters in compromising positions the entire time. But close! And extremely fun for someone who spends her days in a buttoned-up job. In fact, I’ll be driving directly from the hospital to the venue, so I had to ask if there was anywhere in the hospital where I could shower off the germs first.

One of the side effects of joining two book clubs is that I realize most readers (alas, most people) don’t think the same way as me. They might think genre mash-ups are the Death Star of literature. Or they might want to throw Sookie into Hurricane Katrina, especially because they disagree with the series’ ending. I’m curious what you think, dear readers.

Hands up if you love some mixing and matching. Weigh in if you think it’s ruined both genres. If you want to hear more about L.A., hit me up in the comments! Or just click on my Patreon account to leave a tip. Cheers!


  1. Oh, I do, I do! In fact, my next blog post is going to be on my mash-up of sci-fi/fantasy/mysteries. Great minds think alike - and I'm so glad you went to LA!

  2. @Eve, yes! Can't wait to read it. And thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Big shout-out to @Leigh & @Rob for helping me out with links while I was driving back from the emergency room at 11 p.m.!

  4. Enjoyed this post. I’ve always thought mystery/crime and horror mixed well. Both genres deliver suspense, villains, violence, and an element that’s unknown or unfamiliar. And sometimes it’s just setting. Write a vicious unseen assailant stalking someone in a dark alley and you’ve got a crime-suspense story. Move the action to a graveyard and, presto, it’s a horror story.

  5. You’re welcome, Melissa!

    I’ve tinkered with a horror story but damn, it’s difficult to get right. As for sex, oh, yes! I mean, er, sure, when and where appropriate, of course.

    Congratulations for making the trip. We were rooting for you!

  6. Almost everything I write is a mashup, Melissa! Yup - I write the timetravel/paranormal/suspense series too (and have done very well with that one.) But I do find my audiences don't cross over as much as I was expecting. The contemporary crime readers are reluctant to try anything with fantasy in it. I find I do better the other way around - people who like the comedy in my paranormal series will try the Goddaughter series. Great post!

  7. Melissa, have you read Mike Resnick's novels/stories about John Justin Mallory, a P.I. living in a Manhattan where magic works? They start with "Stalking The Unicorn" and are hilarious! Full of settings like Greenwitch Village and The Vampire State Building. The recent collection was "Stalking The Zombie." I loved this column by the way!

  8. Melissa, I didn't get the chance to read this until just now, because I've been recovering from Phoenix Comicon over the weekend. There, there were a ton of mash-up writers such as you describe. Hope to see you there in the future! Oh, and I'll be blogging about my Phx Comicon adventure on Friday, here at SleuthSayers!

  9. Thanks, Dixon! Looking forward hearing about your Phx adventures.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>