As many of you know, I’m currently hard at work writing DEAD IN THE WATER, book 2 of the Grim Days Mysteries featuring the Grim Reaper himself, Silas Mot. I’m currently...oh, I’d say about three-fourths finished with the first draft, and let me tell you, it’s so much fun!
If you read book 1, DEATH WARMED OVER, you know that Silas has developed a bit of a taste for the sweeter things in the Land of the Living. He loves candy—Warheads are his favorite, as well as Twizzlers. He enjoys yo-yos and comic books. He’s become a bit of a TV and movie nerd too. And then, there’s that one sweet thing he can’t get enough of...that delicious little fruity cocktail with an umbrella in a Tiki mug he calls ‘Death on the Beach’.
Of course, the one bartender who first made it for him...well, let’s just say she’s not around anymore...and no one has ever been able to duplicate the delectable little concoction perfectly since. Of course, Silas has tried. Over and over, and has gotten pretty close. In the Grim Days short story that is featured in the COVID-19 charity anthology ‘Surviving Tomorrow’ (Neil Gaiman is one of the headliners in this anthology, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be in a book published with him!), we learn that Silas has developed the ability to conjure the Death on the Beach at will using the material from the Netherworld known as ectoplasm (the same stuff he uses to make his body).
His ethereal recipe is good, mind you, but it’s still not a perfect match. So I’ve decided to help him out a bit.
I want to provide Silas with the authentic recipe for Death on the Beach. As the author, I don’t even know what’s in it. All I know is that you drink it from a straw, it’s very fruity (maybe some pineapple and strawberries, but I’m not sure), it’s full of shaved ice, and it has an umbrella in it. Also, alcohol isn’t essential. Silas doesn’t seem to care one way or another for alcohol as it doesn’t effect his system anyway.
So, I thought it would be fun to see if you amateur sleuths/bartenders out there might know the secret to a Death on the Beach. Here’s the deal: DEAD IN THE WATER is scheduled for release in early January 2021 (the third book in the series, by the way, ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE, should be out in March/April 2021). I’m going to have a contest. The first twenty-five people to email me a recipe for Death on the Beach (alcohol free is fine, but not necessary) will get advanced reader copies of the ebook in December (a full month before it’s official release!). The recipe that is the BEST will get both DEATH WARMED OVER and DEAD IN THE WATER autographed paperbacks (and a signed paperback copy of ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE when it comes out).
Not a bad deal, eh? So how about it? Think you can come up with the secret recipe for a Death on the Beach? Email me in the space provided! Let’s have fun...but please drink responsibly. ;)
Short answer to the blog post title: Probably not. At least for quite a while anyway. In fact, you’re probably going to see me talking more and more on the topic of brozy mystery. The beautiful thing is, you’re probably going to start seeing a lot more people talking about it in the blogosphere as well. The reason? It’s catching on. It’s becoming a thing. It’s building momentum. More and more authors are jumping on board. And it’s beautiful.
On a personal level, I’m not likely to stop talking about brozies for another reason. You see, after nearly ten years of writing across all spectrums of genres (thrillers, pulp, adventure, horror, and fantasy), I finally found my niche. The problem was, my niche didn’t have a clearly defined genre. It was mystery, sure. It was clean. No foul language. No sex (barely any romance at all). I was too clean for straight up mysteries. But my books were too masculine-centric to find a comfortable place among the frills and cupcakes of the cozy genre too (heck, when I mentioned wanting to write cozy mysteries, my own mother had the audacity to ask, “Aren’t they a little girly for you?” She was actually embarrassed by the prospect, and rightly so, I think. I don’t do cats or tea parties. I don’t do book clubs and baking. I don’t do florists or caterers.
I do mystery and adventure. I do mystery and jungles. I do mystery and voodoo. I do mystery and lost treasures. I do...well, you get the point.
So, I ventured forth to build a genre that best suited my own particular brand of cozy mystery...the brozy mystery. It was a female fan and reader who came up with the name, by the way. And, as you’d expect, it isn’t without its controversies. I’ve been labeled a misogynist and sexist for even suggesting such a thing. The reason is easy to understand. The word ‘bro’ carries with it a certain derogatory connotation by many. To these people, it harbors visions of frat guys and douchebags who womanize and cheat and lie to get what they want. To me, the word ‘bro’ carries with it another ideal. That of ‘brotherhood’. Brotherhood conjures up concepts such as bravery, loyalty, being steadfast. I think of rugged exceptionalism (another bad word to some in this day and age). Of heroic deeds. It conjures images of knights in shining armor, Buck Rogers, and Indiana Jones. Good guys (whether male or female) wearing white hats and villains wearing black.
Brozies to me appeal to interests that are traditionally more masculine in nature. Spies, race car drivers, stunt men, adventurers, archaeologists, space cadets. Guys are more interested in Star Wars than they are the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. They’re more interested in football than in crafts. They want stories that excite and pump up the adrenaline. I know a lot of women who want this too, by the way. I can’t tell you the number of messages I’ve received recently from female readers who’ve thanked me for spearing-heading this. Women who just can’t take another cupcake recipe in the back of a mystery (their words, not mine).
Sexist or not, men are less inclined to read books that appear catered to the female reader (I know there are some exceptions because I’m one of them). It’s also true that die-hard readers of cozies (in the form they are now in) aren’t open to more masculine interests (i.e. a futuristic space cozy).
I know this because I’ve recently come across a male writer, Richard Dee, who created a fantastic cozy mystery series called the Andorra Pett series which is set on Saturn. All sorts of fun sci-fi tropes, many which are retro. It originally featured a female sleuth with cute traditionally cozy covers, but yet, according to the author, it’s been difficult to find traction. (He’s recently revamped the covers for a more brozy vibe.) Traditional cozy readers are slow to accept new concepts, especially those that are set in the future in space. So Richard was most pleased to find out little group of Brozy enthusiasts who are looking to change the literary (or at least, cozy) world.
There are other mystery authors out there who are a little more grounded in our world. Recently, I’ve discovered Colin Conway and his Brody Steele series. I’m currently reading book one, Cozy Up to Death, and it’s so much fun. The book (series) takes the cozy mystery and turns it up on its ears. The protagonist is an ex-biker enforcer. But he’s currently in witness protection. And he’s forced to own and run a bookstore (check off one cozy trope). The bookstore has a cat (check another cozy trope), and of course, our hero is not a cat person. But a biker-sleuth? Unheard of! And awesome! And funny. And clean as a whistle (although I’ve never known why whistles are supposed to be clean).
And if you subscribe to my newsletter, you already read my interview with John Gaspard and learned about his fantastic Eli Marks Mysteries. In them, Eli Marks, a typical guy with all the problems guys have, is a professional stage magician. He’s not the best. He’s not the worst. But he makes a good living at it, as well as the magic shop he and his uncle run. But of course, Eli stumbles on bodies quite frequently and uses his skills to help solve murders and other crimes. There’s not a crotchet stick or recipe anywhere to be found. But guys love magic. So it’s awesome, and I consider it a brozy. I’m just not sure it appeals to the classic cozy reader.
That’s why this brozy genre is so important. So people can find these books easier. The dream is to have you, the reader, simply type ‘brozy mystery’ into Amazon’s database and be presented with all the amazing mysteries that guys (and ladies who like more manly tropes in their books) will love all in the one place. By the way, try it. Try searching for ‘brozy mysteries’ in Amazon. Once you bypass Amazon’s spellcheck procedure trying to switch things to ‘cozy’, you’ll already be presented with several books whose authors believe to be perfect for the brozy mystery genre.
This is an exciting time to be a writer! An exciting time to be a fan of clean mysteries with more manly appeals. I hope you’ll embrace the dream, and join us on this journey! Oh, by the way, if you’re interested in learning more, go to Facebook and join our Brozy Mysteries R Us group. We’d love to have you!