If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dying is Easy by Cathy Sonnenberg

“Dying is easy; comedy is hard,” an actor quipped on his death bed. Whereas laughing in the face of death may be heroic, joking about murder gets a bad rap. At a conference, a best selling author spoke dismissively of ‘a light-hearted romp through murder’ being unworthy of a writer’s energy. Is humor truly a lesser genre?

My own foray into humorous mysteries began at the death of my husband. Grief consumes a lot of brain cells. Reading serious literature was beyond me. Romance, when there seemed no possibility of there ever being any in my own life again, was just plain depressing. I had enough misery that taking on someone else's, even fictional, was too much of a burden. Mysteries gave me an intellectual buzz (not all the brain cells were mush) and humorous mysteries added a smile to the puzzle. When I started writing, I naturally gravitated to light-hearted murder.

There’s no doubt, in real life, death – especially murder - is as traumatic as it comes. I can’t imagine joking in the face of bereavement or writing a humorous take on an actual murder. But let’s face it, death is as natural as life and unless we are immediately connected to the deceased, our own interests are always more compelling than a stranger’s death. And therein lies the humor. We are not mocking the dead, but the living. Case in point - The Mary Tyler Moore episode in which Mary can't contain her laughter at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown. The story reflects our anxiety that we, too, might laugh at an inappropriate time and place. We loved Mary for being human.

Laughter is healthy but comedy is hard to pin down. What’s funny to one person falls flat for another Just as you might hate Adam Sandler but love the Marx Brothers; you might find Janet Evanovich over the top but appreciate the drier humor of Christopher Fowler. Is finding a few humorists not to your taste reason enough to dismiss the entire sub-genre?

Comedy shows and movies have whole banks of writers. Stand up routines last a relatively short time and are performed over and over again. Writers of humorous mysteries work alone. They not only have to create the characters, plot, sub-plot and red herrings, they have to hit the comedic beat on a regular basis without a whole lot of help.

Rodney Dangerfield lamented, “I don’t get no respect.” Don’t writers of "light-hearted romps through murder" deserve to be taken more seriously?

5 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I love humorous mysteries. Even if Janet Evanovich is maligned, I still laugh when I read her books. Kaye George's Choke is chocked full of humor as is Ann Charles's series and Nina Wright's dog series. That element alone will cause me to buy a book, because in all honesty,I buy for entertainment. I'd rather the mystery not be lame, but if it makes me laugh its mission will be accomplished!

Pauline Alldred said...

Hi Cathy. I remember reading your WIP and laughing out loud. Sure I relish the shudder at thinking about evil hanging around outside my window but I'm grateful to all the authors who make me laugh. We all need to laugh more.

Warren Bull said...

Welcome aboard, Cathy!

Writing humor well is writing well Acting is a good comparison. Comedies are rarely nominated for Oscars but comedic actor usually take on dramatic roles without a hitch. Dramatic actors often have a hard time with comedic roles. Pace and timing is key to comedy.
In serious work, a touch of comedy allows a change of pace.

Ellis Vidler said...

I enjoy humor in books. I'm also envious of those who can write it. I'm definitely challenged on that front. As Elaine said, there are all kinds of humor, and it leaves most of us feeling better after we've read it. If you have the ability to write it (which is very difficult), don't let anyone talk you out of it!

Michele Drier said...

Hi Cathy, I, too, read yoiur WIP and loved the wry humor and the twisty finale! I love humor...if I didn't laugh, I'd cry! Thanks for the blog.