Friday, May 7, 2010

Guest Blogger - Dorothy Howell



Take a look around a book store – any book store – and you’ll see more books than the average person can read in a year. Chain stores, independents, on-line, used, their shelves are filled with books of every size and shape, on every non-fiction subject imaginable, and every fictional setting in this world and beyond.

Readers have unlimited choices in books. Most know what they want, be it a favorite genre, setting or author. Many are anxious to discover something new. Others are willing to give into an impulse buy.

Regardless of how a book is selected, readers, in my opinion, always want a good read that fulfills the book’s implied promise.

We’re talking reader expectation here, something we authors must be cognizant of and attentive to as we write.

A romance needs attraction, internal and external conflict, a love scene.

Suspense and thrillers must have an international stage, high stakes, intricate plots, larger-than-life characters.

Young adult stories will have teenage angst, peer pressure, parent-child struggles.

Publishing houses understand this and support each book with an appropriate title, cover art, and back cover blurb that sets the tone of the story. But once the cover and title draw a reader to a book on a shelf, the author had better fulfill that implied promise. The pages must deliver the type of story readers are expecting.

Bring on the cozies!

People read cozies for a reason. Usually, it’s because they contain no graphic violence, no explicit murder scenes, no gory or gruesome details. They are the softer side of murder mysteries.

I like to write cozies for the same reasons. Brutal violence is not my – pardon the cozy pun – cup of tea. Yet I still have to write about somebody dieing.

How does an author delicately put murder into a murder mystery?

For me, it’s through the magic of a compelling main character. It’s interesting locations and fun supporting players. Clever clues, humor, and themes that appeals to readers, such as the English countryside, catering, knitting or quilting, bibliophiles, or in the case of my Haley Randolph series, designer handbags.

By combining all these elements, a cozy mystery delivers by allowing the reader – most of whom are puzzle solvers at heart – to follow the clues, weed out the red herrings and misdirection to figure out whodunit.

And be entertained along the way!

Happy Reading!
Dorothy Howell Novels at


  1. It sounds like you have the perfect recipe. I look forward to reading your book. How can one pass up a delicate murder. LOL

  2. I love this blog and yes cozies are so much fun to read. They are my comfort reads where I can just relax and say AHHHH a good ahhhh not like the dentist for a bad ahhhh.


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