Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The NEW Definition of A Cozy Mystery!


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ruffles and flourishes and confetti! You know how much we adore debut authors here on Jungle Red, and today we celebrate the fabulous Mia P. Manansala, whose ARSENIC AND ADOBO is all the buzz.  It comes out May 4, but you are hearing about it here first!

And I have to say, she’s amazing. We met at Malice, where she was constantly surrounded by pals.  She has a big launch event May 6 with our own Jenn McKinlay! Info here.

And I’m hosting her in The Back Room on May 16 with Peter Swanson, Mary Kubica and CJ Box!  (Whoa.) Info here.


Very very exciting!

Here today on Jungle Red, Mia  reveals how she discovered something SO true and SO hilarious--and, I have to say, so wise. I never thought about it this way. And now I never won’t.

What do you think of Mia's realization, Reds and readers? And the generous Mia is giving away a copy of her new book!  (LOOK at that fab cover!)



Having Fun with Genre Tropes

by Mia P. Manansala

 

It all started with a conversation between me and Kellye Garrett.

 

I can’t remember how the topic even came up, but we were joking about how so many cozies followed basic rom-com tropes: girl from a small town moves to the big city and can’t hack it so has to return home and pick up the pieces in some way. They then get roped into the family’s small business (often having to save it) and become more involved with the townspeople, eventually falling in love, if not romantically then with the town itself. Or a similar variation on those themes.

 

“Omg, cozies are just rom-coms with dead bodies!” I remember saying.

 

Dear Readers, that’s where it all began for me. Soon after that conversation, I was riding the train to work when this line popped into my head fully formed:

 


“My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliche.”

 

I had no idea who Lila was or what her story was going to be, but I knew I wanted to find out. I whipped out my phone and started writing that line down in my Notes app (can’t trust myself to actually remember these things) and as I was typing, the second line came to me:

 

“Not many romantic comedies feature Asian-American leads (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but the trademarks are all there.”

 

And that was it. I immediately knew what my story was and what my protagonist’s general backstory was going to be.

 



I’m not gonna lie: I love a good trope. That’s one of the reasons I love cozies so much. They’re familiar. They’re comforting. I greatly enjoy opening a book and getting exactly what I expected.

 

Genre is a tricky beast though. Many people have VERY set expectations on what should and shouldn’t happen in certain (sub)genres.

 

For example, Romance = Happily Ever After or at least, Happy For Now. If the main couple doesn’t get together in the end, readers get upset. I can understand why. I specifically picked up a romance novel to get swept away in an idyllic love affair. If I wanted to be reminded that dating sucks, I could’ve looked back on a decade of disappointing experiences. I don’t need a book for that.

 

The same goes for cozies, in my opinion. We see real-life villains get away with terrible things every day—at least in fiction they get their just desserts.

 

But when do these elements become too predictable? Too unbelievable?

 


People often say there is no such thing as an original idea—it’s all in the execution. I agree. I would also add: have a little fun with it. For my debut, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, I acknowledged every cozy trope I threw in there and had a blast with it. Some people take themselves too seriously and miss out on half the fun of writing.

 

That being said, are there any mystery genre tropes that you love? Hate? I personally can’t stand protagonists that make ridiculous decisions solely meant to introduce more danger to the plot. I’m already giving you the benefit of the doubt that this cookie baker is also a world class sleuth—my suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

 

Please share your thoughts on this to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of ARSENIC AND ADOBO!

 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Isn’t that brilliant?  I am not fond of...twins.:-) In books, I mean. Or when a character ignores OBVIOUS danger. Even if it turns out not to be dangerous, a real person would at least notice that the Uber driver does not look like the person on the visor-flap license.

How about you, Reds and readers? And  Mia will pick a winner after midnight EST!

And yay Mia!


 

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and certified book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore  aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture. Her debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House.

 Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter 

Or check out her website: www.miapmanansala.com

 

ARSENIC AND ADOBO

 

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…


118 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your debut book, Mia . . . it sounds like a lot of fun; I’m looking forward to reading it.
    Rom-coms with dead bodies . . . brilliant!

    I really like twins in stories, Hank, but I can’t stand good twin/bad twin stories . . . and I have been known to throw books that bring in the heretofore unknown twin at the last second to take the fall. Please, being a twin is a good thing . . . .

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    1. Joan! I am up, too! And yes, that is an egregious error in every way. Xxxxx Twins are good!

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    2. Thanks so much, Joan!

      Haha the idea of the bad twin just feels so 80s/90s soap opera-y, I can see how that being the resolution would be frustrating.

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    3. never thought of that -- Rom-coms with dead bodies. Guess I always thought of cozies as dead bodies with Rom-cons.... (ha)

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  2. Congratulations, Mia! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to read the new book.

    We always have to watch out for the TSTL syndrome - Too Stupid To Live - the classic being going down into the basement alone because of a strange noise with a murderer on the loose. Just...no!

    I'm also not fond of a room full of all the regular characters in the first pages of a book. Too confusing - I want to get to know them gradually.

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    1. Yes, I so agree! When I teach I always talk about introducing characters one at a time to let them sink in. The reader has to understand who they should care about, and why.

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    2. Edith: Thanks for the TSTL acronym. I love it!

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    3. Thanks, Edith! And I totally sympathize with all mystery writers about it because it seems SO obvious as a reader, but when you're writing and know that you need to introduce an element of danger, well...

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    4. I totally agree with Edith. TSTL is a trope that's TSTL. And I think, if you want to introduce everybody at once, just put a cast list in the front of the book like Maggie Robinson does.

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  3. Mia, welcome to JRW and congratulations on your new book. Thank you for sharing your aha moment with us. Beginnings are exciting.

    I do get a little frustrated when I know it is time for the amateur sleuth to call the authorities but she finds a "good " reason not to call them just yet. Sometimes I find myself scolding her out loud. I realize that part of the cozy formula is to put her in danger and frequently to rough her up a bit, but still... Oh, the other one is: my cell phone is "out of juice," "in the car," "lost in the snow..." You get it!

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    1. Oh, you are so right! I always think an author gets one dead cell phone battery… In their lifetime!

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    2. Thanks, Judy!

      And yes, that's definitely frustrating on both the reader's and writer's side, because there needs to be danger but it should be believable that the character would act that way. Such a balancing act!

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    3. You hit my other pet peeve, Judy. Nobody leaves their cell phone in the car at a tense moment.

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  4. MIA: Congratulations on your debut mystery! I have a special spot in my heart for culinary cozies, so I am really looking forward to reading about Lila and her family restaurant.

    Like others, I don't like the TSTL syndrome, especially if the amateur sleuth has already encountered dangerous situations in previous books. Yes, the reader has to give the amateur sleuth some leeway but acting recklessly multiple times to solve the mystery is a overused trope.

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    1. Question for you: do you think it mitigate the annoyance if the sleuth says to him or her self: this is so stupid/potentially risky of me, but here’s the reason why I am doing this?

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    2. Thanks so much, Grace!

      Ooh, excellent question, Hank! People often make decisions they know are bad (or at least I do...) and try to justify it to themselves.

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    3. Exactly! So I think if a character realizes it, and addresses it, then it can work.

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  5. Good morning, Mia! I heard you talking about this book at Sleuthfest a couple weeks ago, and it's very exciting that it's out now. Congratulations.

    Love the idea of a rom-com with dead bodies. It fits this blog's theme, too.

    I'm with Edith on the too many characters in the first three pages thing. That's a lot of memory to invest in, all at once, especially with few, if any, defining characteristics that make them memorable.

    My other issue, and one that can take me out of the story at exactly the wrong time, is the killer confession while holding our hero/heroine at gunpoint/knifepoint/withing bomb throwing range. How often does such a useless information dump really happen? Most of the time it's believable, but I've read too many of these where I just keep thinking why isn't this person already dead? They're being such a pain in the butt, asking all these questions!

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    1. Oh my golly, I just burst out laughing! How many times does this happen? Always always always, and it is so silly. I always say to Jonathan while we are watching TV: shoot the person shoot the person! The minute the narcissistic villain starts to explain, they are toast.

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    2. Good morning, Karen! And thanks!

      This is good to know! I have a fairly large cast and figuring out how to introduce them all in each book has been tricky. Note to self: Keep it simple in the first few pages.

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    3. Is a sleuth really all that super a sleuth, if she has to have the whole plot explained to her at the end? Shouldn't she figure out the motivations and nefarious actions herself, rather than have the murderer sit her down and spell it all out?

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  6. Hi Mia, congrats on the new book and so delighted to see you here this morning! One of the problems with a long-running series becomes why the amateur sleuth is involved at all. In my case, Hayley is getting tired of dodging the disapproval of her detective husband, so I'm trying something a little different. We'll see how it works:). I can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Very wise, Roberta! Cannot wait to see what you do…

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    2. Thanks so much, Lucy! Good to know what problems to plan for as the series progresses.

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  7. Congratultions, Mia!

    Karen, "You got me monologuing!" LOL I can't read or watch those kinds of scenes without that line from "The Incredibles" going through my head.

    I'm with Edith on the TSTL thing. Yes, your character has to be in some danger. But really, hearing a police bulletin that a killer is on the loose in a particular kind of boat, noticing that kind of boat and saying, "Let's go check it out," is a bit much for me.

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    1. Agreed! Unless there’s a good reason, which is stated. Unless there’s absolutely no choice.

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    2. Thanks, Liz! LOL I love that line from The Incredibles. It's so true though!

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  8. Congratulations, Mia - so looking forward to reading your debut!

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  9. Definitely looking forward to reading your book, Mia! I like it when, for some reason, the cell phone is not available or doesn't have a signal. It means we have to work a little bit harder to figure out how to get out of that particular jam. That could be one reason why I enjoy books written or taking place in the time before computers and cell phones. I love to see them do it old school!

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    1. Yes, it does cause some dilemmas in writing contemporary fiction—cell phones and the Internet make it too easy to find things out! I think the key is to make that seem like a plus rather than a minus. xx

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    2. Thanks, Judi! I really like that too. Unfortunately, if it's contemporary, there has to be a viable reason for that phone to be unavailable, especially if you have a young(er) protagonist like I do. Working around that is tricky! I've been wanting to write a story set in the 90s for that very reason.

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  10. This sounds like fun with a side of sass, Mia, and that sounds like a good read to me. Congrats on your debut book!

    TSTL is a new acronym to me and I love it. No kidding -- don't hang the plot on a protagonist who is TSTL. I'll close the book and shut the door on that writer. Give me some credit as a reader! And don't give me too many coincidences. Plot out the clues so that, if I read carefully, I can follow them to the end. That's satisfying to me.

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    1. Often manuscripts I read will have some thing that is so coincidental that it is astonishingly unbelievable. When I pointed out to the author, they say: but this really happened! And that’s so funny, isn’t it? A coincidence in real life is… Hilarious and surprising. But in a book, it just doesn’t work. And the fact that it actually happened in real life doesn’t make it any more palatable.

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    2. Thanks, Amanda! And I'm with you 100%

      That's so funny, Hank! The same happens with me when I'm working with book coaching clients or doing a beta read. You want the sleuth to work for that information and coincidence rarely makes for good storytelling. There's a reason it's called fiction.

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    3. Hello Amanda, you're the winner of the giveaway! Please leave your email here, or send me a message through my Contact form if you're not comfortable publicly sharing your email: https://www.miapmanansala.com/contact

      Thanks!

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  11. Mia, congratulations! I love that 'how this idea came' story--and how you immediately went to town with it!

    I read cozies and I know what to expect from them, but what I hope for are surprises--the quality of writing will lift the story from the pages, the characters will be people I can't wait to spend more time with, the setting rendered as more than a backdrop--and I don't guess whodunit in the first one or two pages. And this is why I'm not usually a fan of traditional rom-coms. I don't like knowing the ending right from the first page.

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    1. And isn’t that so fascinating? Because some people will say that one of the joys of the romcom is that you absolutely know how it will end. and that part of the fun is following the twists and turns on a story with an inevitably happy ending. remember… My best friends wedding? That was different, wasn’t it, if I remember? I remember watching it, thinking wow, how are they going to get out of this?

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    2. So true, Hank, and I definitely get the appeal--I'm always up for a happy ending, no matter the genre!

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    3. Thanks, Flora!

      That's so funny, Hank, because I used to be one of those people who didn't like watching rom-coms because they're so predictable, but I get it now. There's comfort in that. And honestly, like most genre books, the magic is in HOW they get there, the way they change as the story progresses, and what they have to work through to make it to that happy ending.

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    4. Yes, exactly! That is part of the fun for writers, too, deconstructing how the authors do it.

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  12. Congratulations Mia. We always need more good writers. I heartily agree with not liking the TSTL person, I’ve been known to say ‘you deserve to stay in the cellar or attic or cave’ and stop reading the book. I also like meeting the characters more gradually, not in a let’s all introduce ourselves mixer at the beginning. I’m too lazy to keep a notebook of the characters.

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    1. You have to figure that if the reader has to keep a notebook of the characters, the author has not succeeded :-)

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    2. Thanks, Ann! And yes, I hate having to be like, "Wait, who is X again?" and flipping back and forth to figure it out. Honestly, I may be guilty of that since I have a rather large cast, but I didn't introduce them all in the beginning. Here's hoping I made them all distinct enough!

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  13. I sincerely hope I will never write this line: "I think I'll go up those creaky stairs into the dark attic and see what that scary noise was," Bimbo said. ��

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    1. True! But what if she absolutely has to? Seriously… It’s a funny juggle, isn’t it?

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    2. What if it's a baby's cry she hears? And she smells gas...

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    3. Hi Amy! And yes, Hank and Hallie, it's such a fine line, isn't it? Sometimes we need to put our characters in situations where the only choices available to them are bad ones.

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    4. Yes, and because it's understandable, and um, relatable, it's okay.

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  14. Arsenic and Adobo sounds like a lot of fun, Mia! I look forward to reading it.

    I have actually been thinking a lot lately about what makes a good cozy. I read a lot of them, and yet other than getting recommendations from Reds or other friends, I have a hard time predicting which ones I will enjoy and which I will find trite. The blurbs and the covers seem to have no predictive value whatsoever.

    I just finished Ellen Byron's Plantation Shudders, and I practically cheered aloud at the way she set everything up according to formula and then kept tripping me up by having things NOT unfold as anticipated.

    Things I do want to see in my cozy include the murderer getting caught and sent away to prison, and any romances in it ending on a sweet note. Things I don't enjoy include too many really annoying characters, everything too cutesy and saccharine, a predictable plot, and usually, supernatural interference. (There are exceptions to every rule, of course. I adore Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mysteries, which are full of supernatural characters and influences. But don't give me a normal set up with just a ghost that occasionally whispers in the protagonist's ear.)

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    1. Oh, ghosts are very difficult. When they work, like Topper, or Alexia Gordon ‘s, they are lovely. But the world of the protagonist has to include such a possibility. Not just at the end, oh guess what? It’s a ghost!

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    2. Thanks, Susan!

      And I'm actually with you. I absolutely adore cozy mysteries and always have, but it's not always easy finding one that keeps me invested beyond the first book. Even ones that sound right up my alley may not always land for me. I wonder what that elusive "it" factor is for me.

      I love Ellen's Cajun Country Mystery Series! Though I do agree with Hank, there are some that pull off that hint of paranormal in an otherwise mundane world really well. I love Alexia's Gethsemane Brown series.

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  15. Mia, congratulations! Your book sounds wonderful. There are so many gloriously predictable mystery tropes. The smashed wristwatch that misleads the police as to the time of death. Twins! Of course. But the latter is SO MUCH MORE BELIEVABLE with so many folks discovering their unknown siblings via dna analysis. The one I hate is when at the most tense moment, all of a sudden the cell phone stops working. Or the car runs out of gas. Just convenient for the author.

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    1. Thanks, Hallie! And yes, convenient = boring. I had to remind myself during edits that if something happens just because it's convenient for me, that's lazy writing and both me and the reader deserve better.

      Writing is hard, y'all.

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    2. And that is the TOTAL TRUTH! But when writing works, ah....as writer or reader, nothing better.

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  16. Hi, Mia. I have to echo what others have said about TSTL--I think that's lazy on the part of the author, and it turns the reader against the protagonist. The other thing I don't like is when, at the end of a mystery, one of the characters has to go on for pages explaining how the mystery was solved. That probably shouldn't be necessary if the clues were there (buried a bit, of course) all along so that the ending seems somehow logical. Easy for me to say--I'm not an author!

    I've had your book on my TBR list for months, Mia, and I can't wait for the library to have it in their catalog. I wish you much success and many more books in the future!

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    1. Margie, that is one of the hardest parts of writing a book! Absolutely!

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    2. Thanks so much, Margie!

      And yes, you want the resolution to be quick and neat, which is always a struggle. That's why it's so important for a writer to also be a big reader--I study how others do it so I know what to do (or avoid).

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  17. The book sounds delicious, Mia. I can't wait to read it!

    Most of my pet peeves have already been touched on, but I'm an old curmudgeon, so I'm going to mention a peeve that's really about pets. I hate it when the heroine has a pet that only appears when it's convenient to the plot. The cat only shows up in time to trip the bad guy. The dog never barks at anybody but the murderer. The heroine has no-day-to day relationship with the pet--no nightly cuddle time, or daily walk routine. No operatic demands for more cat food at all the hours of the day and night. No struggle to keep the pet out of the bathroom when the heroine needs some privacy. If there's a pet in the story, it needs to be an integral part of the heroine's life, not just a convenient prop so there's an animal on the cover.

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    1. Oh, those are wonderful plot ideas! I had a good guy with a dog, in my second series, and it became such a problem because he had to take care of her all the time that I finally had him give her to his mom.

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    2. Thanks, Gigi! I actually had to deal with that because Longganisa (my protagonist's dog) is a character. So when people come over to the house, I had to think of reasons why/why not to include her and what that would add to the scene, or what their relationship is like, just like with any other character.

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  18. Thanks for visiting JRW - I enjoyed your post and am looking forward to reading Arsenic and Adobo. I do like the mystery being all tied up at the end with the villains getting their comeuppance. What is it about the protagonist that always makes the villian give a full confession to them instead of just getting rid of them like Karen and Hank mentioned? I'm glad that they don't, though, because I do want to know all the reasons why ~

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    1. Yes, it is always hilarious… You want to yell… Stop talking stop talking!

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    2. Thanks, Celia! And yes, the villain monologue is so ridiculous, but we do like that neat ending and explanation.

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  19. Congratulations on your debut novel, Mia! I was going to skip this month for Book of the Month until I saw Gigi's wonderful review of your novel and I ordered your novel through Book of the Month. Your book is on the way and I probably will receive it anytime this week.

    How interesting that the definition of a cozy mystery is a rom-com with dead bodies. I thought of cozy mysteries as no guns nor violence in the stories. Some authors prefer the term classic mystery instead of cozy mystery. While some romance is fine with me in a mystery novel, I like the mystery aspect of the novel.

    Diana

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    1. Yes, you are so right! It is a balance…

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    2. Hi Diana, I follow the general definition of a cozy, which is no graphic/on-the-page violence, sex, or language. The rom-com with dead bodies aspect is something I noticed in a lot of recent cozies, where romance seems to be part of the draw. However, I agree that the mystery should be the main focus, and I also enjoy when cozies don't have romance at all! Alexia Gordon's Gethsemane Brown series is a great example of that.

      And thanks so much for choosing my book!

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    3. Mia, thanks! I love the setting of Ireland for Alexia Gordon's Gethsemane Brown novels.

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    4. Mia, your book arrived in my mailbox today!

      Diana

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    5. Yay! Hope you enjoy it! And thanks again for the support, Diana <3

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  20. Hank,

    Twins? I only recall one Hercule Poirot story about twins. How could the same person be seen in two places at the same time? The answer is twins! LOL.

    Diana

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    1. I suppose… But it does seem like such a copout, doesn’t it? unless there are twins from the very beginning, which of course, means… Well, there are twins!

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    2. Hank, the finny thing is no one knew they were twins. It was Hercule Poirot who figured out that there were twins.

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  21. Hi Mia! Your book has been popping up all over the place this week! One of my peeves is how the protagonist is self-employed, too often in a business that would never pay the bills in the real world, yet somehow the business runs itself with little effort or presence on her part. How does she do it?

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    1. Hi Pat! It's so funny, I just wrote an article for Writers Digest where I bring up that aspect of being an amateur sleuth. Like, you better have a really understanding staff since you're always dumping work responsibilities on them so you can go off and investigate!

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    2. Exactly! How long could you keep a crocheting store in business?

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  22. Great post, Mia!!! I absolutely agree that cozies are romcoms with dead bodies - Ha! I've banked my career on it. Readers, I was lucky enough to get an advance read of Arsenic and Adobo and I loved, loved, loved it! Congratulations on your debut, Mia!
    Oh, and my pet peeve is when an author slips into the bad guy's POV for one or two pages. I think it's supposed to build suspense but it just pulls me out of the story and irritates me to no end. Obviously, there are exceptions to this by authors who do it well but IMHO most don't.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jenn! <3

      Ooh, I also have an issue with non-consistent POV shifts. Either that POV is there throughout the book or not at all. It almost feels like cheating to have it appear just for that short time. But you're right, there's always exceptions to the rule.

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    2. Jenn, I couldn't agree more! I'm fine with multiple POV books, but when you just suddenly jump into the bad guy's POV out of nowhere, that's a big turnoff.

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    3. Yes, because if you can be in the bad guys point of you once, then you can be in at any time, and there would be no mystery.

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  23. Hi Mia! "Rom com with dead bodies" is so perfect! I love culinary mysteries and I love big casts of characters so I am really looking forward to this. And your cover is dynamite!!! Can you tell us more about the setting?

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    1. Hi Deborah! Arsenic and Adobo is set in the fictional town of Shady Palms, IL, just a few hours outside of Chicago (my hometown). It's very loosely based on several Chicago suburbs, as well as the town of Ottawa, IL near Starved Rock State Park. I knew I wanted that Midwestern small town feel, but didn't want to be tied to the geography of an actual place. I needed the freedom to build this town the way I wanted.

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    2. Did you make a map so you could keep track?

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    3. I thought about it, but it'd literally just be circles, squares, and squiggly lines since I am not gifted in the visual arts. I might do it if the series continues beyond the third books though, since I'll need it to keep track of my expanding world.

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  24. I'm about half way through an ARC of this book and enjoying it. I had never considered cozies to be rom coms with dead bodies, but now that I've heard this (actually heard it on All Things Cozy last week), I can't get it out of my head. It's very true.

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    1. Hi Mark! Of course, this doesn't apply to all cozies, but I noticed it in so many that I was reading at the time. Decided to lean into it and have fun with it!

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  25. So, I guess the lesson here is, if you've got it (tropes), flaunt it!
    Well done!

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  26. Twins! Josephine Tey’s “Brat Farrar” is the example that came to my mind. She was a genius and usually didn’t have any romance in her mysteries but this one did and used twins! Of course, that plot wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting because of DNA analysis. Congratulations on your book, Mia.

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    1. I'm not familiar with that book, but it sounds interesting. Thanks, Teri!

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  27. Congratulations on your debut book, Mia. I love cozy mysteries, but I have friends who look down their noses at them without even trying them. I also read other genres, but I do read a fair amount of cozies. I'm adding your book to my TBR list, I really like discovering new authors.

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    1. Thanks so much! I don't understand people who look down on other genres without reading them. It's one thing to say, "It's not for me," which is fine. Taste is subjective and nothing is for everyone. But no genre is inherently better than another. Every genre has both amazing and not-so-amazing books in them, and it's a shame that people won't even give them a try.

      Getting off my high horse now, but I obviously have a lot of feelings about that!

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    2. It’s like when people say to me – – oh you work in television, I hate television. And I want to ask: then why are you watching it?

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  28. LOVE that cover! I hate it when thrillers have women victims endure all kinds of nasty, gruesome abuse/murders and the male victims all just get a nice bop on the head.

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    1. Oh, that is very interesting. And certainly fodder for another blog!

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    2. Women as victims to further the male protagonist's plot/journey is something that always gets me. Never thought about how even the descriptions of the crimes differ between the two. Thanks, Susan!

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  29. In modern mysteries, no one should mess with the crime scene or take anything unless there is a flood, fire or something destroying it. People should realize that doing that could ruin the case against the murderer.

    Hank, my brother's mother-in-law used to say that she didn't watch TV. After her daughter bought her a video player, she watched tons of PBS series and Hallmark specials that she could have watched for free years before! Any medium of entertainment has its good and bad stuff, which may not be the same for everyone.

    Looking forward to the new book. Stay safe and well.

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  30. Hooray, Mia! (No need to enter me in the giveaway.) I love that realization of cozies as rom-coms with dead bodies. That sounds like an amazing conversation you had with Kellye!

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    1. I wish we had both been there! Xxx

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    2. Thanks, Jen! I wish I could remember how it even came up, but it was definitely a fun conversation.

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  31. "have a little fun with it" -- words to live by
    A bit of fun helps us face what must be faced, helped me teach for 26 years, helped my students remember lessons, and making fun of ourselves is so entertaining. Brava! <3

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  32. Your book sounds interesting and fun to read. The style of writing is what draws me in. Cleo Coyle coffee shop series and Laura Childs scrapbooking series are 2 of my favorite authors. The planation series is well written too. I like humor as well as mystery. The characters not all at once. I don't enjoy looking back to see who is who. Thank you for the chance.

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    1. The Cleo Coyle coffee shop series is my mom's favorite, and I enjoy it too, though I'm really far behind. I read Laura Child's teashop series, but haven't tried the scrapbooking one yet. Humor is really important to me, so I hope I did it well. Thanks, Donamae!

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  33. Mia, you had me at room full of aunties, got 'em, ready to give 'em. If I wanted lovey-dovey, I'd go Harliquin. Can't wait to read it!!

    DonnaRae Menard

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