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


May Interviews

5/5 Lynn Calhoon, Murder 101
5/12 Annette Dashofy, Death By Equine
5/19 Krista Davis, The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit
5/25 Debra Goldstein, Four Cuts Too Many

Saturday WWK Bloggers

5/1 V. M. Burns
5/8 Jennifer Chow
5/22 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

5/15 M. K. Scott













*************************************************************************************************

E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Jennifer J. Chow for garnering a 2021 Lefty Nomination for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. We're crossing our fingers for Jennifer!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Power of Pets by V. M. Burns

 Recently, I participated in a panel discussion with four other cozy authors. The moderator asked if we felt pets in cozy mysteries were an industry expectation or a reader expectation? If you’ve read any of my books, you already know that I love dogs, especially poodles. If in doubt, check out the covers of my Mystery Bookshop series. Those are my dogs (Coco and Cash). So, my inclusion of dogs in my books is because they are a big part of my life, not because the publishing industry expects cozy mysteries to include a pet. However, this question set my gears in motion.

There are quite a number of rules or expectations when it comes to cozy mysteries. Cozies typically feature a female protagonist who is an amateur sleuth. They are almost always set in a small town or village rather than big cities (although this is changing). Cozies can’t have graphic violence, explicit sex, or bad language. When I was discussing covers for my first book, The Plot is Murder, my editor asked for my ideas. To be completely honest, I didn’t have many ideas. I’m not good at covers or titles. I know what I like when I see it, but I’m not one of those authors who has a picture of their covers in their minds. I suggested books (it’s set in a bookstore) and maybe a dead body because…well, you know. This was my first rodeo, but thankfully, it wasn’t my publisher’s. My editor reached out and asked if I’d mind if they included my dogs. Apparently, the art department said that books with pets sell better. Imagine that. Who knew? Did I mind? Are you kidding? Of course not. Those are my fur babies. So, that’s how Coco and Cash (aka Snickers and Oreo) became the models on the covers of the series.

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of emails from readers who share pictures, comments, funny, and sad stories of their poodles (dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, etc.). That’s when I learned the power of pets. No one ever told me to include a pet in my books. Even when I was asked to write a second series, the topic of pets never came up. I chose to include dogs in my second series, Dog Club Mysteries, because I used to belong to a dog club and thought it would be fun. Did I mention that I love dogs? The idea of writing a cozy mystery that revolved around a dog club appealed to me because it would enable me to include lots of different breeds without the hassle or expense.

My current dogs, Kensington and Chloe are a part of my family. We’ve weathered a lot (especially over this past year). Based on the responses I hear from readers, pets are one thing that many people have in common. Regardless of race, age, or religion, humans share a bond with their pets. So, back to my panel discussion question. Are pets a reader expectation or an industry requirement? I don’t believe pets are a requirement for cozy mysteries. However, I do believe that pets have the power to bridge gaps and bring people together in books as well as in our real lives.


 

While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . .

Buy Links: Amazon, Apple, BAM, Bookshop.org, Google Play, Hudson, IndieBound, Kobo, Nook


About the author
V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, and Sisters in Crime. V.M. Burns is the author of the Dog Club Mystery series, the RJ Franklin Mystery series, and the Agatha Award nominated author of Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. She currently resides in East Tennessee with her two poodles. Readers can keep up with new releases by following her on social media.

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/v-m-burns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vmburnsbooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vmburns

Website: vmburns.com

6 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

pets are key. Poodle power!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

I think pets are expected in a cozy, but the extent of their inclusion and the reality of them as animals makes a big difference for me. I don't appreciate when they are only used as window dressing

KM Rockwood said...

The expectations of "cozy" mysteries have evolved dramatically over the years, but I do think that pets are an important component of today's version.

That said, I can't recall many pets in the classic Agatha Christie cozies.

Shari Randall said...

KM, I remember Bob the dog playing an important role in one novel (but no spoilers here)
I love a well-drawn and authentic pet - fur parent dynamic. I loved the cats in the Cats Who series.

Molly MacRae said...

What's the collective noun for animals in cozy mysteries? An expectation of pets.

Pets have always been part of my life, so I'm happy to have them show up in cozies - but only if they're a natural part of the characters' lives.

Grace Topping said...

I don't have any pets, but my husband and I end up doing a lot of dog sitting for our grand dogs. Since I didn't have any pets, I didn't include one in my work in progress. That is until someone at Malice asked me if I had any cats in my work, and when I said no, she abruptly turned and walked away. You can be sure that night I went home and added a cat. The problem then is that I have to remember to have my main character take care of it.